Bulgaria Love/불가리아 뉴스

불가리아 주요 경제 뉴스 (27 JULY – 3 AUGUST 2007)

Mайка 2007. 8. 3. 19:00






Sections/headline briefs:





·        EU grants � 200 M for ecology projects in Bulgaria

·        Regional Development Ministry to invest BGN 200 M plus in water supply and sewerage projects in 2007, 2008

·        Trade deficit widens by 24% in 2006

·        Bulgaria introduces flat tax in 2008

·        Bulgaria unveils 2008 budget plan with increased infrastructure spending

·        Bulgaria’s economic growth is projected at between 6.6 % and 6.7 % in the second quarter of 2007

·        No referendum for Bourgas-Alexandroupolis

·        Bourgas airport terminal to triple capacity

·        New strategy sees Bulgaria tourism revenues at 5 bln euro in '13

·        Experts to help launch commercial register

·        Bulgarian consumer foodservice industry sales up 7% in '06

·        Bulgaria imports 15,000 tons of corn from Hungary

·        Ruling coalition mulls privatisation of hospitals

·        Bulgaria's Customs Agency overshoots H1 Target

·        Three tie-ups willing to provide consultancy on waste plant project

·        Bulgaria bread, milk and meat prices rise on grain hike

·        150 Thousand cars imported in Bulgaria

·        Over 1.5m tourists visit Bulgaria in Jan-Jun











·        German car giants interested in Varna

·        Big-spending investors rush to secure government aid for local realty projects

·        Investors to bid for to build hundreds of kilometers of roads in Bulgaria

·        Bulgarian golf club Ibar plans to invest over � 51M in second golf course

·        Invest Bulgaria Agency to award first class certificate to golf club

·        Project Rousse gets investor certificate

·        Developers announce 2 new mixed-use schemes in Ruse

·        Developers eye northern Sofia

·        Israeli co buys Varna industrial park project for $104.4 M

·        Balkan Energy co to invest � 120 mln in Dobrich region wind park

·        UK fund to invest � 300M in Bulgaria, Romania

·        Poland's GTC to invest � 51.6 M in Bulgarian, Romanian Projects

·        Japan grants Bulgaria � 2M for thracian art museum

·        Germans build hydropower plants in Bulgaria

·        EVN to invest BGN 118M in Bulgaria in 2007

·        Granity co to invest in Burgas multi-purpose center

·        Bulgaria registers 10% drop of Foreign Direct Investments

·        � 180m to be invested in Serdika Centre





·        Hewlett Packard expands activities in Bulgaria

·        Chinese consortium to restart Plama in eight months

·        Bulgarian unit of Tokuda Bank gets � 1.1 M  loan to back SMEs

·        Raiffeisenbank with the highest rating

·        EU clears AIG Capital Partners to buy Bulgarian Telecom Co

·        Bulstrad, Bulgarski Imoti merger kicks off

·        Bulgaria's Chimimport Invest Plans to Hike Capital 2.17 Times

·        CEZ Bulgaria, Easypay sign contract for using joint offices

·        Pirelli RE continues to expand in Central and Eastern Europe

·        Kirov begins work on Pleven service center

·        Air Liquide opens units in Serbia and Bulgaria

·        Bulgartabac posts BGN 9m profit in H1

·        Philip Morris expects bids for Bulgartabac

·        Germany's Plus plans to open outlet in Yambol

·        Dinamo of Sevlievo to open new facilities

·        Astaldi says awarded railway contract in Bulgaria

·        Miroglio buys Interpred underground parking lot






EU grants � 200 M for ecology projects in Bulgaria

Over 200 million EUR from the EU funds will be granted for the construction of rectifying station and improving the quality of waters.This was announced today by the Minister of Environment and Waters Djevdet Chakurov. He explained that by the end of the year a part of the contracts on the Environment Program have to be concluded.Until 2013 the EU will assign a total of 1,8 billion EUR, which will be invested in the building of 25 more new rectifying stations.We cannot rely solely on the money from the EU funds, highlighted the minister and explained, that private investors are also necessary for the planned projects.The capital city will be aided 100 million EUR, which will finance the building of sewerage system in the districts of Gorubliane, Ovcha Kupel and Gorna Bania. Nearly 30% of the granted by the EU money is going to be used for solving the garbage related problems.We have committed ourselves to the erection of 55 garbage depots, 24 of which are already working, informed the minister and added that 9 more are being built in the moment.It is still not clear though where the money for building the garbage factory in Bogrov will come from. Minister Chakurov, reckons that money for the construction should not be sought from the funds, as the interest from private investors is big enough.Apart from that, it is not absolutely sure, whether it would be approved for financing by the European Commission, as it would bring profit, and for the EU funds are financed only projects, that do not profit, defined the minister.According to him with the recourses from the fabric a sewerage system can be built in the entire cities district, in which such is not available.

Regional Development Ministry to invest BGN 200 M plus in water supply and sewerage projects in 2007, 2008


The implementation of projects for over 200 million leva begin in the water sector in 2007 and 2008, Deputy Minister of Regional Development and Public Works Minister Dimcho Mihalevski said quoted by his Ministry's Press Centre.A 109 million euro loan from the World Bank will be used to complete the dams of Neikovtsi, near Tryavna, Louda Yana, near Panagyurishte and Plovdivtsi, which will provide the water supply of Madan and Roudozem. The Stoudena Dam, near Pernik, will be rehabilitated under the same programme. Currently, plans are being upgraded and environment impact assessment and feasibility studies carried out.The project implementation should begin in April 2008. The World Bank loan will be spent on the fulfillment of energy efficiency measures in six water supply and sewerage companies: Dobrich, Turgovishte, Razgrad, Sliven, Stara Zagora and Smolyan. National budget funds will be used for the rehabilitation of the remaining dams in this country: Kyustendil, Byala, Cherni Osum, Indje Voivoda and Rakochevitsa. Between 40 and 50 million leva will be needed for their phased construction. The country's water supply problem may be settled by 2012 with the building of six to eight dams, Mihalevski further said.He recalled that there is water rationing in some 600 small population centres. Most serious is the situation in the districts of Turgovishte, Razgrad, Shoumen, Lovech, Gabrovo and Bourgas. There are population centres in Turgovishte which are not supplied with water at all and a project on providing water from other sources is being drafted. 1.1 million leva have been floated for this purpose and the problem is expected to be resolved within 1.5 months. The territories with disrupted water supplies are inhabited by some 4 percent of the country's population, Mihalevski said.

Trade deficit widens by 24% in 2006

Bulgaria's trade deficit reached BGN 12.65 billion in 2006, up by 24.3% year on year, final data of the National Statistical Institute show. Exports increased by 26.9% to BGN 23.49 billion last year. Imports amounted to BGN 36.14 billion, rising by 26% compared with 2005. Machines, equipment and vehicles accounted for 29% of imports (BGN 10.48 billion). They were followed by fuels, oils and lubricants, which amounted to BGN 7.88 billion or 21.8% of all imports.

Bulgaria introduces flat tax in 2008


Bulgaria will introduce flat tax in 2008, the country's Finance Minister Plamen Oresharski announced on Sunday. He attended a meeting of the council of ministers in Evksinograd, where the leaders of the three-way ruling coalition met to discuss the 2008 budget.The politicians decided on the macro frame of the 2008 budget, which will have a BGN 24, 5 B revenue share. This will make around BGN 42, 5% of the gross domestic product.Next year's priorities will be increase of the capital expenditures for modernization of the infrastructure and more adequate revenues policy.The three ruling parties also decided to increase the excise taxes on alcohol, cigarettes and fuels starting from next year.The excise tax on petrol products will go up by BGN 0,05.

Bulgaria unveils 2008 budget plan with increased infrastructure spending


Bulgaria's Socialist-led government unveiled on Sunday the 2008 budget framework envisaging a rise of spending on infrastructure and aiming to sustain fast economic growth and to raise incomes.Revenues are expected to total 24.5 billion levs ($17.1 billion/12.5 billion euro), equal to 42% of gross domestic product (GDP), the government said in a statement.Spending is projected at 23 billion levs, Finance Minister Plamen Oresharski said. The country's contribution to the EU budget will be 690 million levs. Bulgaria joined the EU in January."The priorities for the next year will be a sharp rise of capital spending on the modernisation of infrastructure and raising incomes," the government said without elaborating.Bulgaria plans to spend billions of euros - most of them EU funds- to upgrade its neglected infrastructure, which analysts say hinders a faster economic growth.The framework of the country's 2008 budget sets economic growth at 6.0% and inflation at 3.7%, the government said.Bulgaria expects an economic growth of more than 6.0% and inflation of 3.4% this year.The government aims for a budget surplus of 2.0% of GDP this year, seeking to counter possible risks arising from Bulgaria's swelling current account deficit.The 2008 draft budget projects that current account deficit will shrink to 17.2% of GDP from the expected 18% for this year.

Bulgaria’s economic growth is projected at between 6.6 % and 6.7 % in the second quarter of 2007

The Economic Development Center forecasts about 20% deficit on the current account from the GDP. This surfaced at a news conference where the center’s report on Bulgaria’s macoreconomy over the first half of 2007 was presented, a journalist of FOCUS News Agency reported. The deficit on the current account has grown on annual basis during the first 5 months of the year from 7% to 9.7% from the GDP. This is due mainly to the growth of the deficit on the trade balance, as well as the decrease of the positive balances on the current transfers and on the net incomes. only the service balance is favorable. Bulgaria’s economic growth is projected at between 6.6 per cent and 6.7 per cent in the second quarter of 2007. This is an increase from 6.2 per cent in the first quarter, according to Sofia-based think-tank the Centre for Economic Development (CED).The CED previously forecast 6.0 per cent annual growth for the next three years.However, while faster GDP growth was accompanied by an increase in employment, the growth rate of labour productivity was slowing, the CED said.Government officials in Bulgaria expect the country’s economy to continue growing at rates of more than six per cent a year over the next few years, according to wire agency SeeNewsThe International Monetary Fund also projects growth in the Bulgarian economy to be a real six per cent in 2007 and 2008. Bulgaria’s GDP increased by 6.2 % in 2005 and 6.6 % in 2004.

No referendum for Bourgas-Alexandroupolis

There won't be a referendum for the pipeline Bourgas- Alexandropoulos. Burgas' municipality councils accepted the cancellation of leading a referendum.The report was rejected because the asked money for conducting the plebiscite should includes a count for the expenses, informed Dimiter Stoyanov, chairman of the legality committee.The referendum was foreseen for September 2.


Bourgas airport terminal to triple capacity


Bulgaria's Bourgas airport will service an additional 3 million passengers after the first stage of the new terminal is completed, the airport's executive director, Kalin Barzov, told the Pari daily. The capacity of the coastal airport reached 1 million passengers on Monday, July 30. The new terminal will be both functional and convenient for travellers, Barzov added.The master plans for the development of the airports in Varna and Bourgas were submitted for approval to the transport ministry on May 10, 2007. According to the strategy of concessionaire Fraport Twin Star Airport Management, the two airports will be designed to attract more tourists. Therefore the new terminals in the two coastal cities will be made to service mainly low-cost and charter airlines. The terminals in both cities are envisaged to be finished by 2009.



New strategy sees Bulgaria tourism revenues at 5 bln euro in '13

Bulgaria's tourism industry revenues should double to 5 bln euro over the next six years, says a development strategy for the period through 2013 drafted by Bulgarian Tourist Chamber chairman Tzvetan Tonchev.Gross tourism revenue is estimated at 2.2 bln euro for 2007. The average tourist will spend 43 euro per day this year, an amount that should reach 70 euro by 2013, according to the strategy submitted for approval by the State Tourism Agency.Some 60% of tourism revenues are generated by basic services like catering, accommodation and transportation. Additional services contribute 40%. According to the strategy, that ratio should flip over the next six years.At the moment, the local sea resorts crank out 75% of the industry's overall revenues. The strategy forecasts that their revenue share should decline to 58% as other types of the tourism gain more ground.The strategy projects an increase in British bookings for Bulgaria's ski resorts at the expense of the number of Brits heading for the local Black Sea tourist destinations. Scandinavian tourist arrivals are expected to increase 5-10% annually.

Experts to help launch commercial register


А team of experts will help ensure the smooth launch of Bulgaria's commercial register. The start has been delayed several times already and now the register is scheduled to be ready and working on January 1, 2008. The group will be set up to help meet the deadline, it emerged after a meeting between prime minister Sergey Stanishev and the team in charge of the register. The reform is aimed at facilitating the operation of businesses.
The expert group will include representatives of the Registry Agency, the ministry of justice, the council of ministers, judges, members of parliament, businessmen and specialists from Information Services.


Bulgarian consumer foodservice industry sales up 7% in '06

The Bulgarian consumer foodservice industry posted a 7.1% sales increase in 2006, shows a report released by marketing research outfit Euromonitor International.Takeaway orders over the Internet or by phone recorded the biggest growth rate within the industry, adding 25% to 10 mln levs in sales. The upswing is partially due to the low base: this segment accounts for only 1% of the consumer foodservice industry in terms of sales. The survey indicates that chained operators were the top performers in 2006. The Euromonitor report also covers full-service restaurants, bars, cafes, quickservice and self-service outlets and street stalls/kiosks.The full-service restaurants generated half of the industry's sales in 2006 but posted a modest gain of only 1% over 2005.Café and bars were the second biggest contributor in terms of sales.The Bulgarian quickservice segment topped sales of 170 mln levs last year.Self-service outlets and street stalls/kiosks posted a decline in sales due to their positioning in the low-price segment which has been losing ground to the mid-priced segment.Euromonitor forecasts a 3.5% annual growth over the next five years for the Bulgarian consumer foodservice industry.

Bulgaria imports 15,000 tons of corn from Hungary

The reason is the heavy drought that brought serious damageson the crops. The corn should arrive later on this month, informed money.bg.The quantity will be delivered to Bulgaria only if the Danube River level allows the transportation.A couple of other companies bought between 3,000 and 5,000 tons forage wheat from Serbia.

Ruling coalition mulls privatisation of hospitals


Bulgaria's new healthcare strategy will be clear in September, it emerged after the meeting of the leaders of the tripartite ruling coalition, ministers and heads of parliamentary groups taking place in Evksinograd.The existing moratorium on the sale of state and municipally-owned hospitals will be revoked and privatisation will be enabled. Some of the healthcare activities will be assigned under concession contracts. The leaders of the ruling coalition have also discussed the shutting down of ineffective hospital units and the opening of new structures.


Bulgaria's Customs Agency overshoots H1 Target


Bulgaria's Customs Agency boasted it has exceeded the projected revenues during the first six months of the year, collecting BGN 3 177 833 790 from VAT on imports, duties, excises and fines.The net revenues amounted to BGN 3 172 014 361, overshooting the planned BGN 3 108 005 000.The revenues from collected excise on imports and deals inked the country during the first six months of the year stood at BGN 1 500 661 353. The sum gathered from VAT is BGN 1 588 063 609, BGN 5 819 423 from fines and sanctions and BGN 83 289 399 from duties.


Three tie-ups willing to provide consultancy on waste plant project


Three consortiums will participate in the tender for consultant on Sofia's waste treatment plant. Candidates to provide consultancy services for the project construction are two German consortiums and a British one, deputy mayor Maria Boyadjiyska, which is responsible for environment issues, said. There are Bulgarian companies in the tie-ups, too.The tender procedure started on July 27 and seven offers were received. The criteria we have set to all candidates are very high, which will ensure a fair and transparent procedure, Boyadjiyska said. Candidates are required to have carried out at least seven projects of this scale in the past five years.


Bulgaria bread, milk and meat prices rise on grain hike

The weak grain crop, the worst in the past five years, and the record gains in flour and animal feed prices will make sure that the pick-up in food expenses stomached by Bulgarians in July spills well into August.Local producers Wednesday announced that poultry will add 1 lev per kilogram while bread will retail 30% higher at 0.70 levs per 700 g loaf. Eggs will appreciate from 0.16 to 0.20 levs per piece. Farming minister Nihat Kabil told news agency Reuters that the government has no plans to import either wheat or maize and will only bail out hard-up farmers.This has been the second bread mark-up since the start of the wheat harvest.Undersupply of animal feed is pushing up production costs for dairy and meat producers. The biggest dairy farms revised upwards the price of milk, Feta cheese and cheese by 10-15% just two weeks ago. They said the upward pricing pressure could persist if raw milk continues to appreciate due to the drought and the flagging milk production.According to the bread producers, the farmers are twisting everyone's arms as they try to compensate cross losses which are estimated at 70% for sunseed and maize.With an asking price of 400 levs/t, Bulgarian wheat is the world's most expensive on the backdrop of international quotes for 360 levs/t, said Georgi Popov, chairman of the Association of Bread Producers and Confectioners.Bread prices across the country vary between 1.10 to 1.40 levs and could hit 1.60 levs, Kabil told local broadcaster bTV on Wednesday.Sofia-based grain graders told Reuters that some 15,000 tons of maize are due to be shipped here on Danube barges from Hungary next week. Kabil told Reuters that Bulgarian farmers are trying to import maize and wheat from the EU but have not been successful so far due to insufficient knowledge of tender rules and procedures. The official further told the news agency that Sofia is in contact with the Serbian authorities to get information on their maize reserves and export capabilities.The supply crunch is most acute on the local animal feed market which has seen the steepest price increase. Poultry producers said Wednesday that chicken will appreciate from 3.20 levs/kg to 4 levs/kg or even 5 levs/kg by the time it reaches the store shelves. The managers of local poultry companies said the price rise has probably topped out but saw no room for a decline before fodder prices abate.The average price of pork (live weight) stood at 2 levs/kg at the beginning of 2007 but has climbed to 2.40 levs over the past two weeks. Galia Bachvarova, chairperson of the branch union of pig breeders, sees a further increase to 2.70-2.80 levs/kg.

150 Thousand cars imported in Bulgaria

Around 150 thousand cars have been imported in Bulgaria in the first half of 2007, the data from the Association of the car importers shows. Average per day 700-800 newly imported cars are registered in Sofia, which is 30% of the whole import of cars.The growth in the import of new cars is 26% and that of second hand ones -50%.The statistic shows that nearly 80% of the cars, which have been imported this year in Bulgaria belong to private owners.In Bulgaria the importer does not present the real sale contract but a notional document in which a significantly lowered price is written. Thus, the traders save from taxes and fees, which should otherwise go to the budget, comment representatives of the car business. The application of the scheme is expending especially after Bulgaria jointed the EU and the requirement for custom and police control of the imported EU-cars.The “Customs” agency reminds that import of cars from non-EU countries is taxed. The excise duty depends on the power of the engine.  

Imports of used cars increased by some 50% y/y to 150,000 units in H1 helped by the trade liberalisation within the EU’s single market, according to estimates of the association of car importers. Nearly 80% of the import is formally arranged by physical persons but the association suspects that many companies sign invoices directly to their customers to avoid taxes. Despite the steep rise in the import of used cars, sales of new vehicles also retained a solid growth rate of 26% y/y in H1. The automobile market however remains heavily dominated by used cars accounting for about 80% of all deals.New vehicles have to comply with the Euro-4 emissions standard to qualify for registration. SVAB has been campaigning to install at least Euro-3 as a registration requirement for car imports but as of yet there is no political will for a rule change.


Over 1.5m tourists visit Bulgaria in Jan-Jun


A total of 2.666 million foreign citizens visited Bulgaria for the first half of 2007, preliminary data of the National Statistical Institute show. The bulk of them, 1.477 million, were tourists, another 185,000 came here on business, and 27,000 stayed with Bulgarian friends. The number of transit tourists was 743,000.Romanian citizens accounted for 461,000 of all visits, including 174,000 tourists.They were followed by Greeks (380,000). The number of Bulgarians travelling abroad doubled in the first half of the year to 2.042 million













German car giants interested in Varna

Automobile giants from Germany could invest in Bulgarian town of Varna. The reason is that the town is very suitable for the development of their production since it is one of the fastest developing towns in Bulgaria and through its harbour it is connected to the other Black sea region countries, comments the online edition “Cherno more”.Bulgaria’s ambassador in Germany Meglena Plugchieva has claimed her intent to meet Varna’s mayor Kiril Yordanov for the base of “Rodakar”.Mrs. Plugchieva is firm that at the moment not only German but also other car producers are intensively seeking subcontractors for production of various car products.A plant was built in Varna after Rover Bulgaria EOOD was registered in 1992. The company is owned by “Rover Overseas Holdings”Ltd.In May 1995 the first trial models of Bulgarian Rover Maestro are produced. The serial production starts on 3 July 1995. The plant is officially open on 8 September 1995.In March 1995, however, Rover Group announces its intentions to suspend the car production in Varna.At the moment the assembly line halls are preserved and part of the property is used as warehouses.  


Big-spending investors rush to secure government aid for local realty projects

A slew of property developers have applied for a First Class Investor certificates before InvestBulgaria Agency, the local investment promotion authority.The certificate cuts by a third the administrative time necessary to process the paperwork of the respective project. The certified investor is also entitled to assistance when more than one ministry has to approve the rezoning of arable land for commercial development. He is also eligible for the no-bid purchase of municipal land and for budget financing for the construction of infrastructure.The biggest number of the certificates handed out in 2007 have gone to real estate projects, around 20. The agency issued around 30 certificates in total in 2004-2006. The eleventh-hour spike in the number of applications is due to the fact that Bulgaria is about to amend its Investment Promotion Act in September, trimming the certification eligibility of real estate projects on account of the sector's torrid growth over the last couple of years.Six real estate developments are awaiting certification, said Hristo Etropolski from the agency.The application deadline is August 6. After that cut-off point, the agency will focus on promoting investment in the processing industry, IT services and renewable energy sources.

Investors to bid for to build hundreds of kilometers of roads in Bulgaria


On August 6 2007, Bulgaria’s National Road Infrastructure Fund will launch a tender for the construction of 500km of roads, fund executive director Vesselin Georgiev said.The roads would be second and third class and the construction project would be worth 270 million leva, Bulgarian news agency BTA reported.Contracts with successful bidders will be signed at the beginning of October 2007, when the European Commission is expected to approve the regional development operational programme that will provide the money.
More than 90 per cent of the projects already had construction permits, BTA said.Other road projects, in the region of Dupnitsa and Sandanski, worth a total of 95 million euro, will be ready by mid-October 2007. Contractors for these roads will be chosen at the beginning of 2008. The money is to be provided under the Transport operational programme.The report on the environmental effect of Struma highway construction, funded by the same programme, will be ready by that time. The report is required before a permit for construction may be issued.Contractors to build the Maritsa Highway will be chosen at the end of October 2007 and contracts will be signed at the beginning of 2008.

Bulgarian golf club Ibar plans to invest over � 51M in second golf course


Bulgarian real estate developer Golf Club Ibar plans to invest over 100 million levs ($69.7 mln/51 million euro) in building a second golf course near the capital Sofia and the country's Borovets ski resort, its CEO said on Monday."The project will exceed 100 million levs and it calls for the development of a golf course, villas, hotel, spa and beauty centre," chief executive officer Kiril Nedev told SeeNews.The complex will be developed near the town of Dolna Banya, about 70 kilometres southeast of the capital near Mount Rila, on a total area of 160 hectares. It will provide 300 family houses with a total built-up area of 45,000 square metres, 200 of which will be offered for sale. Revenue from the sale of the villas will partly finance the cost of the golf course.The 18-hole golf course will be designed by Nicklaus Design, the design company of golf legend Jack Nicklaus. "It could be a Jack Nicklaus Signature golf course, which would mean that Nicklaus would personally design and supervise it," said Nedev. "We hope to start work in the spring of 2008 and to complete it in a little over two years."The company's first golf course complex, also in Dolna Banya, has an 18-hole golf course designed by Nicklaus Design and 450 villas are scheduled to be built there. "Some 85 million levs were invested in the first golf complex," Nedev said. "It will be officially opened on November 30, 2008." Golf Club Ibar (www.golfclubibar.com) was founded as a public-private partnership by Dolna Banya Municipality and the private Bulgarian firm Lazarov & Nedev with the aim of developing the golf courses. The nearby family houses are designed to attract Western pensioners to live all year round there."Our target market is abroad. Eighty percent of our clients are British and Irish," Nedev said.The low cost of living in the European Union newcomer has attracted many foreign nationals, including retired people, to the country, where they can acquire property and live well with the money they have saved or receive as pensions.

Invest Bulgaria Agency to award first class certificate to golf club


On July 30th Stoyan Stalev, executive director of Invest Bulgaria Agency, is awarding a first class certificate to Ibar 2 golf club in the western town of Dolna Banya, the agency announced. The investment project Golf and SPA Complex Ibar 2 is part of a larger vision of the municipality of Dolna Banya to revive the regional economy, using natural resources – the Rila mountains, closeness to Borovets resort, mineral springs. The main priorities of the project are preservation of ecological balance and improving social and economic status of the local population.


Project Rousse gets investor certificate


BulgariaInvest Agency awarded on Tuesday a first-class investor certificate to Project Rousse AD for the EUR 99.6 million investment which the company will make in downtown Rousse. Stoyan Stalev, executive director of the agency awarded the document to Raicho Raikov, executive director of Project Rousse AD and Bozhidar Yotov, mayor of Rousse.The project, which is to be implemented by the company, envisages the setting up of a commercial, entertainment and administrative mall complex. Prista Oil, Densi Stroy and Rousse municipality are partners in the project. The complex will be built on 3.6 ha of municipal land and will accommodate a sports hall with 5,000 seats. The new mall will also boast a modern hotel. The commercial and entertainment complex will have a built-up area of 72,300 sq. m.Construction works are expected to be completed 24 months after the start, which is scheduled for October 2007. The opening is expected to take place 30 months after the launch of the construction works.


Developers announce 2 new mixed-use schemes in Ruse

One local and one Israeli company have announced plans to invest a combined 150 mln euro in two mixed-use developments in Bulgarian city Ruse, on the Danube.Proekt Ruse, a joint venture between the Ruse municipality and Mall Ruse Invest, will be granted a First Class Investor certificate for its 100 mln lev complex that will comprise a 25,000 sq m sports auditorium, hotel, entertainment venues and underground parking. The whole scheme will have a built-up area of 72,000 sq m.Mall Ruse Invest is co-owned by Prista Port (47.5%) and Densi Story, the developer of the Veliko Tarnovo shopping mall.The second development is a project by Ocif Investments and Development Ltd. and Israel Theaters Ltd.In Bulgaria, Ocif and Israel Theaters partnered up to develop the Mall of Sofia and Mall of Plovdiv schemes before selling them to Irish fund Quinland and the real estate division of GE.The companies plan to develop the Ruse lot into a shopping mall with 25,000-35,000 sq m of space. Ocif and Israel Theaters each own 45% in the Bulgarian company that will implement the project.The local office of the Israeli companies said their local partner is the Iris company.

Developers eye northern Sofia


A metro line and big infrastructural projects will make Sofia's northern part an attractive place for business and living. The city's plan envisages the development of large parks, sports and amusement projects, residential areas, production and logistic facilities. The process will take at least seven or eight years.Investors are already realising the potential of the northern quarter and starting to buy land there. However, they should keep in mind that unlike the southern areas, which have undergone very brisk development, the northern part requires a long-term investment, Sofia's chief architect, Petar Dikov, warned. At least six to eight years will be necessary before such projects start to yield return to investors, he explained.The metro extension from Nadezhda residential district to the centre of the city is essential for the development of the northern zone. The line will be 6.5 km long and will have 7 stations. Construction will begin in 2008 and has to be completed in three years.However, the main projects that will attract investments are two road sections: the northern highway and Rozhen Blvd leading out of the city. The highway will pass between the city and the northern arc of Sofia's ringroad and will connect all districts in the region with the motorways of Trakia and Hemus to the east and Lyulin and Struma to the west. We are holding talks with the ministry of regional development to make the highway part of Trakia. That will divert truck traffic from the ringroad, Dikov said. Rozhen Blvd in turn will become the main approach road to the municipality of Novi Iskar, which will develop as a large residential and production area. In the third stage of construction, the metro is envisaged to reach Novi Iskar.





Israeli co buys Varna industrial park project for $104.4 mln

AFI Europe NV, a unit of Israeli conglomerate Africa Israel Investments, has bought the owner of a plot of land and office buildings in Bulgaria for 76.5 mln euro, news agency Reuters reported on Wednesday, August 1.The plot already has buildings on 40,000 sq m and AFI Europe will build on another 160,000 sq m to develop an industrial park, Africa Israel said in a statement quoted by Reuters.This is the second AFI acquisition in Varna storied in the foreign media.Earlier this year, news agency Dow Jones reported that the company controlled by billionaire Lev Leviev had paid 52.2 mln euro for an unidentified Bulgarian company that owned the rights to a real estate project in Varna covering 40,000 sq m of office buildings as well as building rights for an additional 160,000 sq m. Business Park Varna was tipped as the most likely acquisition target but its owner Sistek Holding at the time denied the reports.Property developer FairPlay International and investment fund Bulgarian Property Development are (BPD) currently developing a logistics park in Varna. BPD was adamant that the project has not bee transacted.In addition to the industrial project in the Black Sea resort town of Varna, AFI also has two residential and one mixed-use scheme under development in Sofia.AFI Europe owns residential property, shopping malls and hotels in the Czech Republic, Serbia, Romania and Bulgaria. Africa Israel has interests in real estate, energy, hotels, fashion and infrastructure.

Balkan Energy co to invest � 120 mln in Dobrich region wind park

Local company Balkan Energy said it plans to invest over 120 mln euro in a 200MW wind park in North-eastern Bulgaria.The company has applied to be issued a 35-year permit for the production of electricity.The local power regulator is expected to respond to the application next week.In addition to the municipality of the same name, the 7,000 sq m Dobrin wind park will also partially lie on the territories of adjacent municipalities Krushari and General Toshevo, all in the Dobrich region.The 12-month project is expected to get underway in early 2009.Balkan Energy will initially install 35 Enercon rotor blades each with a 2.3MW capacity. They will combine for an annual output of 169,000kWh.Another 53 rotor blades with a total capacity of 119MW will be added during the second phase of the project. They will increase the output of the wind park by 420,000kWh annually.Balkan Energy, co-owned by Roal Resort and Maccap, said it will partially finance the project with additional funding to be provided by the local Corporate Bank.The investor is in talks with national utility company NEK to connect the wind park with its power grid. That would require the construction of a substation and a 30 km powerline.

UK fund to invest � 300M in Bulgaria, Romania


UK European Convergence Development Company (EDEC), which is owned by Charlemagne Capital, will invest more than EUR 300 million in new projects in Bulgaria and Romania. This concerns three projects that will be launched by this year's end. They will be carried out jointly with local partners, which will provide part of the financing.
The UK fund already has a project in Bulgaria. Together with Bulgaria's Megachim, it is investor in the Rousse mall, which is assessed at EUR 30 million. The group's other fund, European Convergence Property Company, has announced it will sell its investements in Romania and will only keep its interest in Veliko Tarnovo's Central Mall.

Poland's GTC to invest � 51.6 M in Bulgarian, Romanian Projects


Polish property developer Globe Trade Centre (GTC) will invest in a 42 million euro ($70.5 million) shopping mall in Bulgaria and spend 9.61 million euro on a land plot for a residential project in Romania's capital as part of its expansion in eastern Europe, the company said.GTC Bulgaria has acquired 75% of shares in the company building a shopping mall in the city of Stara Zagora. In Romania, GTC's investment portfolio increases by 57,000 square metres with a new investment in Bucharest," the company said in a statement.GTC Bulgaria plans to build a shopping mall with a net area of 23,000 square metres in Stara Zagora with a local partner, GTC said without elaborating. The opening of the mall is planned for the spring of 2009. Bulgaria and Romania joined the European Union in January. The countries' real estate sectors have been booming for several years boosted by both foreign and local demand.GTC paid 9.61 million euro for 66.7% of a company which owns a land plot in Bucharest where 85,000 square metres of residential area will be developed, it said. The investment is planned to be completed in 2009 or 2010.After the transaction is finalised, GTC's completed investment portfolio and its projects under development in Romania will total 427,000 square metres of residential space, 115,700 square metres of retail space, and 98,400 square metres of office space. The development projects of GTC in Bulgaria will cover 60,700 square metres of retail space and 8,500 square metres of office space.

Japan grants Bulgaria � 2M for thracian art museum

Bulgarian Deputy prime minister and Minister of foreign affairs Ivaylo Kalfin and Japan's ambassador in Bulgaria Koichiro Fukui will sign and exchange notes for a grant from the Japanese government.The financial help is for the establishment of a Museum of Thracian art in the Eastern Rhodopes Mountains. The amount of the grant is ¥ 341M (around � 2M).The joint project of Ministry of culture, Haskovo municipality and the Japanese side provides for the establishment of a modern equipped museum of Thracian art in close proximity to the Thracian tomb near the village of Alexandrovo.The grant is from the Japanese government's program for grants in the field of culture. Under this program grants have been supplied for the Boyana church, National library, National theater, the State music academy, National art gallery for foreign art, National institute for cultural monuments, National academy for theater and film art, Sofia philharmonic orchestra, National palace of culture, Sofia national opera and ballet, the Archaeological institute with a museum, the Bulgarian national radio orchestra, Bulgarian national TV and the judo federation.

Germans build hydropower plants in Bulgaria

German companies are interested in constructing hydroelectric power plants in Bulgaria. The German PetroCarboChem - SE (PCC SE) and the German Investment and Development Company have founded a joint venture that plans the construction of about 30 hydropower plants in Bulgaria, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Macedonia.The planned investment amounts to a total of � 80M, 15 to 20 M of which will go to Bulgaria.The plants' capacity will be of 45 MW and will supply 20 to 40 thousand households with electricity in Bulgaria. Electricity produced this way will reduce the emissions of carbon dioxide by 150 thousand tons, according to calculations of the PCC SE. According to sources from the German company, they have been trading electricity with Bulgaria for long and they believe the country has good water resource but the environmental regulations are not clearly set.About 3200 people work for PCC SE and the company's annual turnout is about 879 million euro.

EVN to invest BGN 118M in Bulgaria in 2007

The acquisition of the heating utility in Plovdiv, Toplofikatsia, is the first step to EVN Bulgaria's transformation into a company providing the full range of utility services. We are interested in expanding our operations in Bulgaria, including by participating in projects for construction of generating capacities at Maritsa Iztok or elsewhere, the chairman of EVN Bulgaria's supervisory board, Stefan Szyszkowitz, told the Pari daily in an interview.As concessionaire of the electricity distribution utilities in Plovdiv and Stara Zagora, EVN plans to invest BGN 118 million in 2007. As much as BGN 55.7 million of the amount was utilised in the first half of the year. The investments are aimed at improving the network safety and quality and cutting down on power losses.


Granity co to invest in Burgas multi-purpose center

Granity, the local construction materials retailer, said it will start the construction in Burgas of multi-purpose center comprising warehouses, showrooms and office premises. The company already operates storage facilities in the Sunny Beach resort and plans to open outlets in Sliven, Kiten and Varna. An outlet in Sofia is planned for '09.

Bulgaria registers 10% drop of Foreign Direct Investments

The direct foreign investments to Bulgaria in the first half of the year were by about 10% less compared to the same period of 2006. The foreign investments for the first 6 months of 2007 amounted to 1.5 billion euro, in the first half of 2006 they were 1.7 billion euro, according to a report of the Centre for Economic Development and Status of Bulgaria, devised at the end of June 2007. The earnings from foreign tourists in Bulgaria from January to April were 332.7 million euro that is by 14% more than in the same period of 2006. on the other hand Bulgarians now tend to spend considerably more when abroad, for the first four months of 2007 they spent 389 million euro.The report reads that crediting grows considerably in all aspects. Commercial loans are the leading among other types of crediting (16.41 billion levs or 68.3% of all credits; 1euro = 1.95 levs). At the end of March the credits given to households were 9.29 billion levs that is by 2.67 billion more than in March 2006. Bulgaria is lagging behind in taking measures for effective energy consumption in industry and domestic life, according to the report.


� 180m to be invested in Serdika Centre


More than EUR 180 million will be invested in the setting up of the Serdika Centre commercial and entertainment complex in Sofia. The project will be implemented by Erste Bank's Sparkassen Immobilien AG and ECE Projektmanagement.
Serdika Centre will be officially opened in the autumn of 2009, Plamen Ilchev, manager of ECE Bulgaria said. The commercial and entertainment complex is expected to be among the biggest malls in Sofia. The complex will boast 50,000 sq. m of commercial space with more than 200 luxury shops on three levels, as well as 35.000 sq. m of office space and a parking lot for 1,800 cars.





Hewlett Packard expands activities in Bulgaria

Hewlett Packard plans to expand the activities of its support and troubleshooting centre in Bulgaria, the general manager for Bulgaria Sasha Bezuhanova announced on Tuesday.
The company will open an additional 250 working places by the end of 2008, which means HP will look for a total of 1250 employers."For only a year's work the Hewlett Packard Global Delivery centre in Bulgaria achieved perfect results which gives the company a reason to assign new projects to the Bulgarians," Bezuhanova said.
HP has chosen the Bulgarian outsourcing company Sofika Group as a partner for its further projects.
The HP Global Delivery Bulgaria Center was launched in partnership with Ajilon Consulting Bulgaria and Sitel Bulgaria. HP has chosen local company Sofica Group to work on forthcoming Global Delivery Bulgaria Center projects.Bezuhanova said several million levs have been invested so far in the training of contact center staff but decline to name the exact amount.

Chinese consortium to restart Plama in eight months


A Chinese industrial and trade consortium, Shanghai, will help Nova Plama's buyer resume production at the refinery. Part of the installations will start operating within eight months. After the first stage of reconstruction, the enterprise will have capacity to process 400,000 t of crude oil a year.Nova Plama was bought for BGN 44.4 million by Plovdiv-based Highway Logistic Centre. As soon as the deal was concluded it emerged that the Bulgarian buyer would rely on the cooperation with a powerful foreign company with rich experience in oil processing.

Bulgarian unit of Tokuda Bank gets � 1.1 M  loan to back SMEs


The Bulgarian unit of Japan's Tokuda Bank and state-owned Encouragement Bank signed on Tuesday a 1.1 million euro ($1.5 million) loan agreement for on-lending to small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), Encouragement Bank said.The credit line is part of a 4.9 million euro German programme for support of Bulgarian SMEs, Encouragement Bank said in a statement.Encouragement Bank, which runs the programme in Bulgaria under an agreement with the Finance Ministry, has made similar loan facilities available to local International Asset Bank, Allianz Bulgaria and Investbank.Encouragement Bank was set up in 1999 as a fully state-owned institution with the special purpose of providing medium- and long-term financing to Bulgarian SMEs and promoting Bulgarian exports.

Raiffeisenbank with the highest rating


Sofia. Moody’s Agency rated Raiffeisenbank, which is the third largest in Bulgaria, as the bank with highest long and short term deposits rating, Pari Daily informed. The financial stability of the bank was given a D+ mark. Momchil Andreev, CEO of Raiffeisenbank Bulgaria, said in an interview that the rating given to their bank from such an agency as Moody’s is yet another confirmation of the successful development, good financial status and stability of the bank. Over the last few months many Bulgarian banks such as MKB Unionbank, UniCredit Bulbank, United Bulgarian Bank, DSK Bank, First Investment Bank, Commercial Bank Allianz Bulgaria, and Piraeus Bank all received positive ratings from Moody’s.

EU clears AIG Capital Partners to buy Bulgarian Telecom Co

The European Commission has cleared U.S. investment company AIG Capital Partners Inc. (AIG) to buy Bulgarian Telecommunications Company, Bulgaria's main fixed and mobile phone services provider, news agency Dow Jones reported.BTC is 65% owned by Viva Ventures GmbH and Novator. The acquisition, which values BTC at 1.661 bln euro, is one of the largest private acquisition in Bulgaria to date, AIG said.AIG Capital Partners is part of AIG Global Investment Group. AIG Capital Partners is a leading private equity investor in emerging markets with 100 investment specialists. Bulgarian Telecommunications Company is the main telecommunication services operator in Bulgaria, with over 12,000 employees. Its 2006 revenues were 516 mln euro.The takeover was cleared under the commission's simplified procedure. This clears deals automatically after one month if no third party lodges a complaint.

Bulstrad, Bulgarski Imoti merger kicks off


The executive director of Bulgaria's Bulstrad, Rumen Yanchev, is the new management board chairman and executive director of Bulgarski Imoti. This is the first step to the consolidation of the two insurance companies. Bulgarski Imoti's Rumen Galabinov will be deputy executive director of the two companies. The decision was approved by the Financial Supervision Commission late last week.The consolidation will strengthen Bulstrad's leading position in the Bulgarian insurance market. For the first quarter of 2007 the company posted a premium income of some BGN 60 million, i.e. nearly 20% of the sector's total. After the merger, Bulstrad and Bulgarski Imoti will hold about 23% of the market.

Bulgaria's Chimimport Invest Plans to Hike Capital 2.17 Times


Bulgarian holding company Chimimport Invest said on Tuesday it plans to increase its share capital 2.17 times to 130 million levs ($91.1 million/66.5 million euro).Chimimport Invest, which owns 98.1% of blue-chip industrial conglomerate Chimimport, will issue 70 million new shares with nominal value of 1.0 levs each, the holding company said in a statement.The company will seek the shareholders' approval for the capital hike at a meeting on September 3.Chimimport too has announced earlier plans to increase its capital by a nominal 20 million levs to 150 million levs to raise funds for investments in its subsidiaries.Earlier this year Chimimport Invest bought 84.6% of local pension company Lukoil Garant Bulgaria from the local unit of Russian oil major Lukoil. It owns an insurance company and two more pension companies through Chimimport.Shares in Chimimport, part of the SOFIX index of the Bulgarian Stock Exchange, last traded at 14.4 levs at 0900 GMT, unchanged from the previous close.


CEZ Bulgaria, Easypay sign contract for using joint offices for payment


Czech energy company CEZ, which operates power distribution utilities in western Bulgaria made an attempt to reduce the queues of people who want to pay their bills by signing a contract with Easypay.Thus, all people who want to pay their bills to CEZ may use the offices of Easypay to do so.At the moment people can pay at 41 desks in Sofia and 80 at 80 such in western Bulgaria.After signing the contract, CEZ clients will be able to pay their bills in another 1214 places in Sofia and another 230 in the western corner of the country.

Pirelli RE continues to expand in Central and Eastern Europe


Pirelli RE continues to expand in Central and Eastern Europe with the launch of an activity in Romania and Bulgaria in partnership with the Unicredit Group, strengthened also by the growth of Pirelli Pekao Real Estate (75% Pirelli RE-25% Bank Pekao) in the Polish market.The joint venture agreement for the birth of Pirelli RE Romania, 80% Pirelli RE and 20% UniCredit Tiriac Bank, was signed on Thursday 18 July, 2007. UniCredit Tiriac Bank is one of the most important players on the Romanian banking market, with total assets of �3.7 billion, over 600,000 customers and 138 branches.
A similar agreement to be signed for the creation of Pirelli RE Bulgaria regards a 75% Pirelli RE-25% UniCredit Bulbank joint venture. UniCredit Bulbank is the main financing institution within Bulgaria, with total assets of about �3.8 billion, over 1 million clients and about 300 branches.Through the implementation of its own business model and together with both UniCredit Tiriac Bank and UniCredit Bulbank Pirelli RE Group’s goal is to become a leader in the Bulgarian and Rumanian markets, offering quality, design conscious, and ecosustainable real estate products. The two joint ventures will focus, on the one hand, on the development of local asset management platforms and specialized services and, on the other, on attracting investment capital from primary foreign financial players in order to co-invest in the different real estate sectors with a particular focus on residential development projects. The investment of both Pirelli RE and UniCredit Tiriac Bank/UniCredit Bulbank in the real estate projects and the asset management activities will guarantee aligned interests.Pirelli RE Romania and Pirelli RE Bugaria will manage and develop areas and properties, supplying specialized services to both its own portfolios and those of third party clients; Pirelli RE has a call option to grow to 100% of service activities which be integrated into a local service company, when an adequate business volume is reached. The customers of the two companies will have easier access to the financial services offered by UniCredit Tiriac Bank and UniCredit Bulbank. Each company’s strategy will be defined by a Supervisory Board comprised of five members: Pirelli RE Romania’s Board will be comprised of Carlo A. Puri Negri, Olivier de Poulpiquet and Enrico Signori of Pirelli RE and Rasvan Radu and Marco Cravario of the Rumanian bank, while the Board in Pirelli RE Bulgaria will include the same representatives of Pirelli RE along with Hampartzoumian Levon and Andrea Casini from the Bulgarian bank. The respective Management Boards will be responsible for implementing the strategies.Chiomenti Studio Legale acted as legal counsel to Pirelli RE, together with Salans for Rumenia and Djingov, Gouginski, Kyutchukov & Velichkov for Bulgaria.


Kirov begins work on Pleven service center

Kirov, Bulgaria's biggest importer and distributor of industrial equipment and professional tools, said it has started construction on a sales an service center in Pleven which will be its biggest outlet in North-western Bulgaria. The 1,750 sq m center will cost 2 mln levs and should open by Dec '07. Kirov has been quoted as saying there are plans for similar service centers in Blagoevgrad, Sliven and Ruse.

Air Liquide opens units in Serbia and Bulgaria

The French company Air Liquide, specialized in the production of industrial gases opened a new unit in Belgrade. The plans of the enterprise include opening of the same on in Bulgaria, announced Reuters.With nearly 37 000 employees in 72 countries, Air Liquide is a world leader in the production of industrial and medical gases. The company offers innovative solutions based on constantly improved technologies in the production of gases (oxygen, nitrogen, argon and other rare gases).The company's revenues for 2006 amount to 4.364 billion euro.The main activities, which Air Liquide will provide in the region are supply liquid oxygen and gas.With the innovations, Air Liquide plans to strengthen its presence in South East Europe and to increase its activities.The company intends to start also the production of acetylene in the region.The signing of a contract with the Montana enterprise Monbat AD in Bulgaria was considered a very big success. As a step further, a processing enterprise will be open near Sofia by the end of 2007. It will help local industrial activities.This will also be a prerequisite for the development of trade relations between heavy industry companies with key clients in the region. Romania's and Bulgaria's accession to the EU eased the logistic processes in the region and secured harmonization with the established operations with the Greek unit Air Liquide Hellas, claim from the company.

Bulgartabac posts BGN 9m profit in H1

Bulgartabac Holding posted BGN 9 million non-consolidated profit for the first half of 2007, which is BGN 10 million less compared to the year-ago result of the company. The decrease may be put down to the dividends the company has received, according to executive director Hristo Lachev. Bulgartabac received BGN 10 million in dividends in 2005 and only BGN 3 million in 2006.Blagoevgrad BT, a subsidiary of Bulgartabac, netted BGN 15 million profit for the first half of 2007, up by BGN 8 million compared to the year-ago period. Sofia BT booked BGN 4.9 million profit for the first six months of 2007, compared to BGN 1.6 million netted a year earlier.Bulgartabac exported nearly 2.5 billion cigarettes in the first half of 2007, which equals the quantity exported for the entire 2006.

Philip Morris expects bids for Bulgartabac

Philip Morris - the world leader in cigarette production - would study with interest future privatization bids for Bulgartabac, announced Richard Morgan, managing director of the company for Bulgaria and Romania.We cannot tell whether we would participate before the government starts the procedure, he added. In the years to come Bulgartabac will be our greatest rival on the market, if the state-owned holding is not privatized, Morgan added.Philip Morris has increased its market share five times since the beginning of the year: 6.8% of the money spent on cigarettes in Bulgaria has been paid for one of the company's 15 brands. Worldwide the share of the company is twice higher - it's 15.4%
The newest Philip Morris brand will be released on the Bulgarian market on August 10. Marlboro Silver are meant for the smokers who prefer lighter tobacco blends with less than four milligrams of detrimental substances.Bulgartabac will remain the main competitor of foreign tobacco companies in the coming years, provided it is not sold, Morgan forecast. Since the beginning of 2007 Philip Morris has paid some BGN 40 million in excise duties to the budget.

Germany's Plus plans to open outlet in Yambol


Immobilia Bulgaria Targovia, which represents the Germany's Plus discount chain in Bulgaria, is interested in building an outlet in Yambol. Kiril Todorov, mayor of Yambol municipality, has received a letter from the company with a request for co-operation for the sale of a municipal plot for the outlet. Immobilia is part of Germany's Tengelmann. A total of 200 outlets of the Plus chain will be built in Bulgaria in the next four years. The company targets mainly cities with a population of over 20,000. Immobilia Bulgaria plans to open a total of 30 outlets in the first quarter of 2008. Each of the outlets will cost EUR 2 million to build.


Dinamo of Sevlievo to open new facilities


Sevlievo-based Ideal Standard Vidima, the largest sanitary reinforcement maker in Europe, will shift part of the output of its major supplier, Dinamo of Sevlievo, outside of the Gabrovo region.Two facilities for the grinding and polishing of sanitary reinforcement products will be opened in Gorna Oryahovitsa and Levski. The two plants will employ a total of 200. The shifting of part of the production out of Sevlievo is prompted by the insufficient number of workers in the town, Krassimir Kolchev, executive director of Ideal Standard Vidima said. Investments in the two facilities are expected to top BGN 400,000. The company posted a 20-percent year on year increase in output in 2006.US investment company Bain Capital has acquired the bath and kitchen business of American Standard, which owns the Sevlievo-based plants, it emerged a week ago. The deal is estimated at USD 1.755 billion and includes 54 plants in 23 countries.


Astaldi says awarded railway contract in Bulgaria

Astaldi SpA, Italy's second-largest construction company, has won a 162.5 mln euro contract to design, build and upgrade the Plovdiv-Svilengrad rail line in Bulgaria, news agency Bloomberg reported on Tuesday, Jul 31. The Rome-based company will build a new 90 km railway line and upgrade 15 km of another line, Astaldi said in a stock exchange statement quoted by Bloomberg. Work is scheduled to start in the first quarter of 2008, according to the statement.

Miroglio buys Interpred underground parking lot

Italian company Miroglio, which operates here 3 textile plants, hotel and winery, has won an auction for a parking lot underlying the Interpred World Trade Center office building in Sofia. The buyer will pay close to 3 mln levs for the facility which is still under construction. Bidding started at 1.95 mln levs. The 110-car parking lot will be part of the future Interpred subway station. Miroglio bought a 70% stake in Interpred from Korea's Daewoo in '02.