Банкеръ Weekly



Billionaire Thor Bjorgolfsson is no longer a BoD member of the Bulgarian Telecommunications Company (BTC), it became known from an announcement of the telecom to the BSE-Sofia. The managerial body has been also quitted by Leonidas Tsibouris and Stanislaw Knaflewski. The former BoD members have been replaced by Jeremy Thomson, Graham Mcinroy, and Kevin Smith. The changes were written down in the Sofia City Court on June 5, 2006. Although Thor Bjorgolfsson left the BoD, the aim of Iceland's billionaire is to achieve full control over BTC. The new BoD members are his business partners in the Novator investment fund he owns. On January 18, 2006 an option agreement was signed, entitling the fund to buy 100% of Viva Venture's stake in the telecom. The company holds 65% of BTC's capital after its privatisation in 2004. The sale may be effected after the elapse of the restrictive term, included in the divestment agreement. That term is the year 2007 or earlier if a permission from the respective competent authorities is obtained. Mr. Bjorgolfsson holds at least another 15% of the telecom's stocks, which he purchased during the divestment of BTC's residual 35% state-owned share in 2005. In addition to BTC stocks Mr. Bjorgolfsson owns part of EIBank's capital and the Aktavis pharmaceutical company which has three plants in Bulgaria.
Meanwhile, on Thursday (June 8) BTC again filed to the Communications Regulation Commission (CRC) its demand for a change of its tariff policy. In end-May the regulatory body rejected the first version of the telecom's proposal due to its unclear structure and the impossibility to assess the economic effect on subscribers. The new version has been redrafted according to CRC's recommendations. The main accents in the new tariff policy are a reduction of the fee for the installation of a new telephone line from BGN70 to BGN20, a simplified scheme for billing city and long-distance phone calls, and a cut-down of the prices of long-distance and international calls.

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