Bulgaria Love/불가리아 뉴스

불가리아 주요 경제 뉴스( 30 APRIL – 10 MAY 2008 )

KBEP 2008. 5. 10. 18:42


WEEKLY REPORT ( 30 APRIL – 10 MAY 2008 )



Sections/headline briefs:





·        Bulgaria finance minister presents first trimester budget report

·        General budget surplus surges to 2.7% of GDP in Q1

·        Credit growth to continue

·        Bulgaria’s economic growth pace declines

·        Bulgaria heating, power, water prices may go up by summer

·        High prices shock Bulgarians

·        Chinese jeeps to be manufactured in Bulgaria

·        Preparations start for award of concession for Cherno More Motorway

·        Government to earmark BGN 150 M for Trakia highway

·        Regional Development Minister: Struma motorway planning to be finalized by end of 2008

·        Traffic jams cost Bulgaria BGN 2 B every year

·        Macedonia completes power line to Bulgaria

·        Experts to consult establishment of Bulgarian energy holding

·        Greeks conquer Bulgarian property market

·        Bulgaria among Top 10 destinations in US tourist guide

·        The Finnish tourists ignore Bulgaria

·        Bulgaria to advertise tourism in Spain

·        Bulgaria opens embassy in Estonia

·        Bulgaria telecom market tops BGN 3.9 B in 2007

·        Bulgarian builders turn to Venezuela












·         �25 M solar park to be built in Straldja

·        Penny Market steps in Svilengrad

·        AKB Fores earmarks �150 M for investment in 2008

·        EU grants �700,000 to Bulgarian Dupnitza for project realizing

·         Serbia's Delta Maxi to open 10 stores in Bulgaria

·        3MW power station to launch on Iskar river

·        First two malls to be built in Bourgas

·        Eurosilex to build �20 M holiday village

·        German "Heinemann" plans investments in Bulgaria

·        New metallurgic factory to open in Bulgaria's Kurdzhali

·         Bulgaria Varna soon to have new BGN 160 M stadium







·        Plovdiv's International Spring Fair draws 970 companies

·        Siemens seeks to raise its market share in Bulgaria, Romania above 20% in 2008

·        Peugeot looking at four locations for eastern European plant

·        French Lagardere Services steps Bulgarian market

·        Israeli company gets credit for Business Park Varna project

·        Local water bottler ‘Devin' to become regional leader

·        IKEA may re-direct investments from Poland to Bulgaria or Romania

·        Companies to register chemicals for free

·        Only two companies continue race for power plant Bobov Dol

·        Ministry launches tender to select firm that will work out electronic health files

·        Dell sees 2008 market gains in Bulgaria, Romania

·        Bulgarian builders eye USD 12.5 B projects in Sochi





·        ECB sees 2008 inflation in Bulgaria, Romania remaining relatively high

·        The obscure energy future







Bulgaria finance minister presents first trimester budget report

Over BGN 610 million have been received from the European funds by the end of March. The data comes from a report about the national budget execution for the first trimester of 2008, prepared by Plamen Oresharski, Finance Minister of Bulgaria. The budget revenue has increased with 33,5% for the first trimester of the current year.The revenue together with the subsidies according to the consolidated fiscal program amount to a total of BGN 6,744 billion for the first trimester, while by the end of March, the revenues not originating from taxation are calculated at BGN 773,8 million, which is 24.9% from the yearly budget plans.The subsidies received from the EU structural and cohesion funds, the European Agricultural Fund for the Development of the Rural Areas and the European Angling Fund represent 31.6% from those planned in the yearly budget. The advanced payments from EU for the contracted operational programs amount to BGN 542, 5 million of the above subsidies.The budget expenses are calculated at BGN 5,08 billion while the interest payments amount to 42,9% from those planned for the entire year. The local municipalities have been given BGN 646,5 billion from the budget. The social insurance funds have received another BGN 643,6 million while the judiciary power has been afforded 23,2% more than the same period of last year or a total of BGN 88,6 million.The fiscal reserve by the end of March of 2008 is BGN 8,088 billion.

General budget surplus surges to 2.7% of GDP in Q1


The general budget surplus more than tripled to BGN 1.66bn (EUR 850.7mn) in Q1, data of the finance ministry reveals. The surplus accounted for 2.7% of the projected GDP as compared to 0.9% of GDP in Jan-Feb. Revenues surged by 33.4% y/y to BGN 6.7bn for the period (24.8% of the full-year plan), still influenced by one-off indirect tax growth effects in the base period but also pushed up by EU funds inflows. The latter reached BGN 432.5mn during the period and pushed up the budget surplus by 0.7pps of the projected GDP. The introduction of a flat 10% personal income tax to replace the progressive scale ranging from 0% to 24% as of the beginning of the year turned out to be positive in terms of revenues for the general budget as the line receipts increased by 15.3% y/y during the period. Expenditures advanced by 17.2% y/y to BGN 5.08bn or 20% of the full-year plan. The government is targeting a budget surplus of 3% of GDP this year in a bid to contain the large CA gap.


Credit growth to continue

Bulgarian banks continued to boost loan portfolios, though at a slower pace, a survey of the Agency for Economic Analysis and Forecast at the Bulgarian Finance Ministry, carried out among Bulgaria’s commercial banks, showed on May 6.Banks’ intensive loan activity is mainly driven by available liquidity in the banking system, the desire to retain market share and the favourable macroeconomic environment, according to the report.The policies of the Bulgarian National Bank (BNB) aimed at slowing down credit growth were no longer a decisive factor for the bulk of commercial banks, according to the report. This is largely due to the lack of signs that the central bank would resort to the introduction of new restrictions.Demand for loans in the first quarter of 2008 was generated by the same factors as a year ago. Namely, 90.9 per cent of all banks point to operating funds as the main reason for the search of bank loans.Furthermore, the minimum mandatory reserves and the more expensive financing on international financial markets has encouraged banks to start attracting resources through deposits.According to commercial banks, euro-denominated loans and deposits in the household segment will grow at a faster pace compared to expectations. In the meantime, the competition that banks experience from non-banking institutions, leasing companies excluded, would decrease.

Bulgaria’s economic growth pace declines


Bulgaria will be facing a slight slowdown in its economic growth dynamics - down to 5.6% this year, Bank Austria analysts conclude in their latest report. Over the last years Bulgaria’ economy has been growing by over 6% annually, but analysers say numbers will tumble down to 4.8% in 2009. This downfall scenario coincides with the IMF forecast, published back in April. The good news is that in the first half of 2008 Bulgaria will post a 6.25% rise in GDP. According to the team of experts of Bank Austria the country’s economy is rather open, which makes it strongly dependent on foreign capital inflows. Foreign direct investments (FDI) have increased by 15.3% in January and up to EUR 432 million. The country’s current account deficit stays at 20.2% of the GDP this year.

Bulgaria heating, power, water prices may go up by summer

The key heating companies in Bulgaria have asked the State Commission for Energy and Water Regulation to raise heating prices with another 15% to 20% by the summer. They have cited the raising price of natural gas - 24% for the last three trimesters, as the main reason for such demand.The Commission's Director, Ivan Shushulov explained that the Commission's experts were currently examining the requested raise. Shushulov has stated that the determination of the new price of natural gas was forthcoming and would be established around July 1. The Commission has already received a prognosis from "Bulgargaz". According to Shushulov, the new raise requested by "Bulgargaz" was lower than the one they have asked for until now, but despite that, they would certainly not receive it.Shushulov also announced that the National Electric Company had filed an application in front of the Commission for a 20% electrical power supply price increase. The three electric distribution companies in Bulgaria - CEZ, EON and EVN are requesting a price jump between 9% and 12% for domestic consumers. The Commission is expected to make a decision about the new electrical power supply price in a few weeks. Shushulov has admitted that, at the moment, the Commission was not yet ready with the price determination.He has, however, confirmed that the water supply price for Sofia would be going up beginning this summer. The expected raise is BGN 1,22 including the Value Added Tax, as requested by the concessionaire "Sofia Water."
This request will be granted because "Sofia Water" has complied already with the conditions imposed by the Commission in its capacity as Water Regulator.


High prices shock Bulgarians

High prices stir panic among Bulgarians. Consumers observe with a troubled eye the increasing inflation, according to the data from a survey by the National Statistical Institute (NSI). People's pessimism and anxiety tends to reach the levels of 1997 crisis when prices changed a couple of times a day. The urban population is especially concerned about the increasing deficiency in the household budgets. In the end of March the accumulated inflation was already 14,2% without the expected increase of electricity, central heating, gas and water rates. In this case the discussion that the Government is to enter about whether to raise pensions by 9.5% or 10.35% seems far from people's real problems. Over the last year prices have grown too much, 77,6% of the Bulgarians believe and 37,8% of the people in this country are sure they will continue growing. Other 42,2% even say that prices will increase at the same rates. The European Central Bank warned of the factual risk that the inflation in Bulgaria would continue rising, reported Trading Markets. The ECB report specifies that the prices growth is related to the expected rise of energy products prices, also of prices of food and state-controlled products' prices. The prices rise led to people's increased eagerness to buy. The last poll by the NSI for April this year outlines Bulgarians' larger intentions to buy a car, estate or to undertake renovations of their home in the next twelve months.

Chinese jeeps to be manufactured in Bulgaria


Off-roaders costing US$10,000 will be manufactured in the town of Lovech, central Bulgaria. Litex company, owned by Bulgarian football boss, Grisha Ganchev, is a step away from signing a licensing agreement with a Chinese manufacturer of the vehicles. The name of the new company will be Litex Motors. Grisha Ganchev will hold 92% of the shares, while the rest 8% will be of Corporate Commercial bank. The name of the Chinese company cannot be made public yet, as the deal has not been finalized. It is planned that the factory would be built within a year, sources close to the deal informed the Standart. The idea is to produce low-cost cars to meet the needs of all countries on the Balkans. The most expensive jeeps with all extras will cost US$20,000.


Preparations start for award of concession for Cherno More Motorway

The Government has given the Finance Minister two weeks to appoint a team to make the preparation for the award of a  concession for the construction of the Cherno More motorway, which will follow the Black Sea coast and link the cities of Varna and Bourgas, the government information service reported Wednesday.The motorway will be part of Pan-European Transport Corridor VIII between the Adriatic and Black Seas, as well as part of the proposed 7,500-km Black Sea Ring Road. The motorway is among the priority projects for transport infrastructure included in the 2006-15 National Integrated Infrastructurе Development Strategy.In March 2007, the Bulgarian government asked the European Investment Bank and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development for assistance in the preparation of the concession projects for the Cherno More and Haemus motorways. An interdepartmental working group was set up under the guidance of the Regional Development Minister to liaise with the banks during the feasibility study (for the motoways' reconstruction/modernization), operation, maintenance and financing by public-private partnerships (concessions) before preparatory actions are taken under the Concessions Act. The team that will be expected to prepare the concession procedure will be headed by the Regional Development Minister and will include representatives of five ministries (Finance, Regional Development and Public Works, Transport, Environment and Water, Agriculture and Foods), the National Roads Infrastricture Fund and the government administration.


Government to earmark BGN 150 M for Trakia highway


The Bulgarian government plans to allocate BGN 150 million from the state budget for the completion of the Trakia highway, the Pari daily learned. These funds were left untouched in the budget for paying the new project executors in case the concession with the Bulgarian-Portuguese consortium failed, the Pari daily learned.The deadline set by the minister of regional development and public works Assen Gagauzov for the tie-up to secure a credit for the completion of the project is May 10. Until present, there are no indications that the consortium has found the necessary funding. A month ago, Gagauzov warned that in case the money is not provided, the contract will be terminated and a new procedure for concession of the remaining three lots of the highway will be opened.The sum BGN 150 million will be enough to start construction of the remaining sections of Trakia, experts say.


Regional Development Minister: Struma motorway planning to be finalized by end of 2008


The Struma motorway is the first big infrastructure project to have a compatibility assessment, which also backs the environmental impact assessment, Bulgaria’s Minister of regional Development and Public Works Asen Gagauzov said, asked to report on the Struma motorway project development, Focus News Agency journalist reports. It is possible to finalize the working plans and design by the end of this year, the minister added.


Traffic jams cost Bulgaria BGN 2 B every year

Bulgaria loses more than two billion leva a year from traffic jams, according to estimates of the Bulgarian Energy Efficiency Agency (EEA). The EEA based its calculation on the fact that each Bulgarian lost almost an hour in traffic jams daily. If half that time were spent at work, Bulgaria would have generated an extra 1.2 billion leva a year. If that sum were to be distributed among workers, it would have been equivalent to a five-per-cent salary increase across the board.In addition, traffic jams incur 600 million leva in losses over spending of extra fuel on the streets. Cars’ wait on semaphores resulted in losing 200 tonnes of extra fuel and 0.5 million tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions a day.He added that the Easter and Gergyovden holidays generated carbon dioxide savings amounting to 1.2 million tonnes.According to another calculation of the agency, a fully operational Sofia underground would lead to a 12 per cent decrease in traffic jams and 240 million leva cut of the annual losses.




Macedonia completes power line to Bulgaria

Macedonia has completed its section of а 400-kV electricity transmission line which will connect its power grid with Bulgaria's via Stip (West-central Macedonia) and a substation near the town of Chervena Mogila in Western Bulgaria. Macedonia is now waiting for the Bulgarian section to be completed, said the Macedonian Electricity Transmission System Operator. The project, financed by the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) with 29.5 million euro, began in June 2006. The Macedonian section is 71 km long, and the Bulgarian one should be around 80 km long when complete. The construction of the power lines was awarded to Germany's SAG, chosen in accordance with the rules and requirements of the EBRD.The facility, ensuring parallel operation of the national power grids, is being constructed under an agreement on cooperation in the energy sector between Bulgaria and Macedonia. The implementation of the project is a new step in the strategy of the Balkan countries' electricity companies in the Balkans, aiming interconnection of their power grids and establishment of a regional energy market.

Experts to consult establishment of Bulgarian energy holding


A public procurement will soon be underway to select a consultant for the project on the establishment of a Bulgarian energy holding, said Iva Petrova, director of the Energy Markets and Restructuring Directorate with the Ministry of Economy and Energy. In an interview with Focus News Agency she added that the public procurement will be announced soon and all requirements for transparency, competition promotion and procedural regulations provided in the Public Procurement Act would be met. She noted that the effective and efficient implementation of the project required specific knowledge in the areas of energy and corporate management. “Bulgaria does not have experience in such consolidation of companies and we have to be very careful in implementing the project, taking into account the importance of the energy sector for the economy,” she said. “The resolution the Council of Ministers adopted on February 13th 2008 on restructuring and consolidating five energy companies – Maritza East mines, Maritza East 2 TPP, Kozloduy NPP, National Energy Company and Bulgargaz, with the state being the sole proprietor of the capital – authorizes the use of consultant help in the preparation and establishment of the Bulgarian energy holding,” Petrova noted. She added that the consultant would draft a detailed schedule of the holding’s preparation, registration and establishment.

Greeks conquer Bulgarian property market

True Greek invasion is happening in the moment on the property market in Bulgaria in the last two years, comments the Greek business edition ‘Imerisia', quoted by local Investor.bg. There is an interest by constructional companies, mostly from North Greece, that build many residential complexes, trade centers and office buildings in Romania, Bulgaria, Croatia, Albania and recently in Macedonia.All this is accompanied by individual investors that buy properties on cheap price, which give on loan after that or use for vacation.Despite the considerable increase of prices of real estates in Bulgaria lately, the properties are still considered as cheap for the Greek purchasers.The most demanded spots according to the Greek buyers are in Varna, Burgas and Bansko. The most expensive are along the Black Sea coast with prices between 2,300-2,700 EUR per sq m.The real estates on local mountain resorts are between 570 and 590 EUR per sq m, but sometimes in the luxury mountain complexes prices may reach 2,500 EUR/sq m.

Bulgaria among Top 10 destinations in US tourist guide

The Internet issue ‘E-Media Wire' published tourist guide for 2008 for best tourist destinations as this year the edition includes Bulgaria, money.bg announced. The author and selctioneer of the guide Pauline Fromer listed the 10 Top tourist destination by the criteria of expends, romantic journey, family tourism and exotic destinations for travelers, looking for adventures. Bulgaria is one of the four destinations out of USA. ‘Bulgaria - the oldest country in European Union (established 681 year), still doesn't have good tourism infrastructure, but is quite safe and proposes antique monasteries and wonderful preserved medieval villages along with SPA and mineral springs resorts and nice sea resorts on the beautiful Black sea' is written in the tourist guide.

The Finnish tourists ignore Bulgaria

The number of Finnish tourists in the last years decreases. The unpleasant tendency was commented by the Finland Ambassador to Bulgaria. In 2005 Bulgaria was visited by 90,000 Finnish people, while in 2007 their number decreased to 65,000.No matter that Bulgaria ranks third in attractive tourism destination according to the Finnish tourists. They like Bulgaria a lot, but also have very serious remarks about local services and loud resorts.The stock exchange between Bulgaria and Finland had increased three times more in the last 2 years, informed the Ambassador.He commented that despite the increase he is not satisfied by the exchange level, which counts $ 100 million per year.Yamsen believes that there are chances for bigger investments in our country.

Bulgaria to advertise tourism in Spain

Bulgaria's Union of Investors in Tourism (UIT), in cooperation with one of Spain's largest tourist companies Halcon Viajes, will launch a mass advertising campaign of Bulgaria in Spain, UIT told the Pari daily. The partnership was forged during the ongoing Week of Europe in Madrid. Halcon Viajes plans to launch charter flights to Bulgaria in the summer of 2008. Spain is also interested in establishing new regular flights to Sofia from Madrid and Barcelona. The advertising campaign will put special emphasis on Bulgaria as a golf destination, Anna Baycheva, investment councillor at the Bulgarian Embassy in Madrid, said. Large investors and financial companies will be informed of the conditions for developing the aristocratic sport. Bulgaria has considerable potential in attracting Spaniards interested in balneology, as well as cultural, religious and hunting tourism, Ivan Hristov, ambassador of Bulgaria to Spain, said.

Bulgaria opens embassy in Estonia


Bulgaria is to open an embassy in Tallinn, the Government decided at its weekly meeting on Thursday, the cabinet's information service said. Bulgaria's and Estonia's membership in the EU and NATO has invigorated the political dialogue between the two countries. Estonian businesses have shown keen interest towards Bulgaria. Opening a Bulgarian embassy in Tallinn will intensify the bilateral relations in the political, economic and cultural sphere, says the press release. Estonia opened its embassy in Sofia in 2006.

Bulgaria telecom market tops BGN 3.9 B in 2007

The Bulgarian market for telecommunication services rose close to 30% to 3.9 bln levs in 2007, shows preliminary data of the local telecom regulator. In 2006, the telecom market posted a 10% year-on-year growth, reaching just over 3 bln levs or around 6% of the nation's GDP. Mobile services were the main growth engine in 2007, contributing more than half of total telecom revenues. In related news, chairman of the Communications Regulation Commission Veselin Bozhkov said there is no legal obstacle to nation's three wireless carriers - Mobiltel, vivatel and Globul, joining the fray for GSM frequencies in the 1,800 megahertz spectrum although they are yet to indicate their interest in the procedure. 'The market needs new players and besides, the frequency resource on offer is expensive and not worth it if you buy just for the sake of having it,' said Bozhkov. The official said the frequency resource that the CRC will auction off will be priced at around 35-40 mln levs. Alternative telecom Max Telecom is the only candidate for the resource so far. Bozhkov expects that after the first moves that were made to lower the wholesale tariffs for landline to mobile calls would convince the operators to voluntarily engaged in further tariff cuts by the end of 2008. 'If that does not happen, the CRC will step in to make sure the price of the service levels off with its cost,' said Bozhkov. In related news, Plamen Vachkov, chairman of the Sate Agency for Information Technologies and Communications, said that the main section of a nationwide information network being deployed for the purposes of the state administration will be in place by the end of 2008. The agency will be in charge of running the network but it will provide access to other last-mile operators like BTC, wireless and alternative telecoms. 'We have no ambitions to go head to head on a market where the operators do their main business. The task for the agency is to put in place the necessary backbone,' said Vachkov.

Bulgarian builders turn to Venezuela

There are strong chances Bulgarian firms to realize projects in the constructions field in Venezuela due to the increased demand of real estates in there. This was informed by Stefan Zlatarov, chairman of Bulgarian - Venezuelan Trade Chamber on a meeting with Tsvetan Simeonov, vice-chairperson of Bulgarian Chamber of Commerce.Between the both organizations was reached an agreement for exchanging of information for supply and demand by Venezuelan and Bulgarian companies with the business contacts purpose.Last year the stock exchange between the both countries increased with 58,5% compared to 2006, counting $ 19,5 million.














�25 M solar park to be built in Straldja


The municipality of Straldja, in southeastern Bulgaria, and the Dobrich-based company Zlatia M will build a solar park in the town. A joint venture has been set up, and the total investment will amount to EUR 25 million. Part of the financing will be secured by EU funds.Solar parks projects are already being carried out in the Kresna-Sandanski region in southwestern Bulgaria. This region is deemed most suitable for solar energy production.
By 2010, energy produced from solar panels will increase by three times to 1,000 kW, Velizar Kiryakov, chairman of the Association of Producers of Ecological Energy, told the Pari daily. The current capacity is relatively low, about 10 kW, but it will reach about 300 kW after the construction of planned solar parks.


Penny Market steps in Svilengrad


The first sod for a hypermarket of the German discount retail chain Penny Market was turned in Svilengrad, southeastern Bulgaria. Construction will be carried out by the Bulgarian company Business BG Group, which won the competition announced by the municipality. The total size of the envisaged investment is more than BGN 1 million.
Svilengrad is the smallest town in Bulgaria to host a hypermarket from a large chain. Trade and services development is favoured by the town's unique geographical location, near the borders with Greece and Turkey. The investment will create about 40 jobs in the town. Penny Market is owned by the Rewe concern, which also owns the BILLA hypermarkets.


AKB Fores earmarks �150 M for investment in 2008

Bulgaria’s financial holding AKB Fores will almost quadruple its investments this year to 150 million euro, the owner of the holding Nikolai Banev said at a news conference, as quoted by Dnevnik daily. Investment outlays last year stood at 40 million euro.The figure for 2008 does not include the investment into a hazardous chemical cargo terminal at the port of Varna, Banev said. The 100 million euro project, which AKB Fores hopes to implement with strategic partners, will be built in a year and a half. Hopes are that it will emerge into the main facility regionwide and deny the competition of its counterpart in Constanta, Romania, he added.The bulk of the investment funds will be re-invested profit and financing procured from Swiss investment funds. The holding has opted for foreign financing because banking investment funds are still scarce in Bulgaria, the executive said.Plans of the holding are to build a new factory, to enter the asset fold of AKB subsidiary Polimeri AD. The chemicals company is also intent on raising its capital from 5.3 million leva to 55 million leva.Another planned investment is the construction of Rock City Mall in Kavarna, on the northern Black Sea coast. It would be owned by the Roussalka Holidays tourist holding, another AKB Fores unit, and would be built in the Chaika complex, whereas the façade will feature two guitars in honour of the annual rock festivals hosted by Kavarna.Among holdings within the AKB Fores Holding Group are AKB Fores, AKB Corporation, Roussalka Holidays tourist holding, AKB Konsortium, Foreshim Bulgaria, Elma Fores and Fores Green.

EU grants �700,000 to Bulgarian Dupnitza for project realizing

700, 000 EUR will receive Dupnitza Municipality (Southwestern Bulgaria) by EU funds for four projects, money.bg announced.The Dupnitza Municipality prepares four big ecological projects with large influence over the bio - balance recovering in the region. The part of ‘Rila' Park, part of Rila Mountain, which is included in the municipality territory will be recovered by the ‘Let's reach new tourism horizons' project, which is common work with Vraniya Municipality. The cost of the project is 325, 459 BGN (167,730 EUR) as the amount of 291, 253 BGN (145,626 EUR) will be given by European Union and the Bulgarian Regional Development Ministry. The ‘Rivers Alive' project's value is 314, 182 EUR. 298, 473 EUR of the amount are granted free by the EU. The ‘Rivers Alive' project is part of ‘Good Neigbourship' program Bulgaria - Macedonia, as partner of Dupnica Municipality is Kriva Palanka. The main purpose of the project is integration of the rivers Jerman and Bistrica, Otovica and Jubrena in the culture - cognitive destination ‘Dupnitza'.

Serbia's Delta Maxi to open 10 stores in Bulgaria

By the end of the year Serbian Delta Maxi plans to open 10 new supermarkets in Bulgaria, as part of its regional expansion campaign, Serbian broadcaster B92 reported.Delta Maxi bought a majority stake in Bulgarian retail chain Piccadilly last year, at which point its CEO Dragan Filipovic said the company would invest 70 million euro in Bulgaria over the next two years.The group plans to open 10 new commercial sites in Serbia, eight in Montenegro and five in Bosnia and Herzegovina. The company also plans to set foot in Albania, Macedonia and Ukraine.In Serbia, Delta Maxi dominates the market with more than 360 supermarkets and stores countrywide, reporting revenues of 900 million euro last year, B92 said.Its majority shareholder, Delta Holding is the country's largest private company and is owned by Miroslav Mišković, considered to be Serbia's richest man.

3MW power station to launch on Iskar river

Bulgarian company Vez Svoge, 90%-owned by Italy's Petrovilla, will launch Thursday the first of nine small hydro power plants it is building along the river Iskar, Northern Bulgaria. Vez Lakatnik, Bulgaria's first river-bed hydro power station, will generate 19GWh of electricity annually that will be purchased by power distributor CEZ. Vez Svoge, 10%-owned by the Svoge municipality, has signed an electricity export contract with a power trader and is in talks to conclude a second deal, said executive director Plamen Dilkov. Vez Lakatnik cost 9.5 mln euro with borrowed funds accounting for 60% of the project financing. The 25.7MW hydro cascade project is worth a total of 73 mln euro. The EBRD will provide 34 mln euro of the project funding. UniCredit Bulbank is also involved. Vez Svoge also contributes with its own funding. All nine hydro power stations should be completed by 2011.



First two malls to be built in Bourgas

Bulgaria's construction company Sun City will start building a large trade centre in Meden Rudnik residential district, Bourgas. The project is at an advanced stage and will be ready in three years. The mall will be built over 60,000 sq. m, including 40,000 sq. m to be rented out. The project will feature a spaceous entertainment zone with a swimming pool, cinemas, restaurants and sports halls. At the same time, French retailer Carrefour and MB Izgrev started construction of a two-storey trade centre near the city's highway exit for Sofia and Varna. Its floorage will be 17,200 sq. m, with the hypermarket itself spanning an area of 8,200 sq. m. Mall Izgrev will be completed in the early autumn of 2008 and will open for visitors in October. The project will include a bowling hall for 200 visitors, a children's playground, restaurants and four cinemas.

Eurosilex to build �20 M holiday village


Bulgarian-French Eurosilex will invest nearly EUR 20 million in the construction of a holiday complex on the northern Black-Sea coast. The project, Golden Valley, will have its own water treatment plant and will be located near Varna and Albena. The land was bought back in 2005. Golden Valley will include 81 apartments and 22 luxury villas. Each apartment building and villa will have its own swimming pool. The apartments will be sold ready to live. The complex will feature a 6,000 sq. m park. The project is planned to be completed by this year's end. Most of the properties in Golden Valley have been sold already, the buyers being mainly British and Irish citizens. There are also buyers from Russia, Poland, Scandinavia and France.

German "Heinemann" plans investments in Bulgaria

One of the biggest operators of duty free trade in the world – the German “Heinemann” has serious investment intentions towards the Bulgarian market, writes “Pari” newspaper. The company has officially deposited its interest in a letter to the Bulgarian prime minister Sergei Stanishev. The letter is signed by Christoph Hoisser, member of the board of directors of “Heinemann” on 29 April. “Heinemann” wishes to work together with the Bulgarian duty free operators through a management contract by undertaking the overall management and control of the activity. The company intends to invest in the establishment of modern trade places at the Bulgarian land border points.“We want to participate in the development of the market by diversifying the portfolio of goods with international trade marks and also by our experience and know how in the supply and the operation of the European border shops”, says the letter. “Heinemann” has projects in the Czech republic, Poland, Romania, Germany, Greece.Similar intentions has the Irish AER Rianta International which is also among the leading duty free operators in the world. Its representatives have already held talks with Bulgarian duty free operators. Currently, clarifications with the Irish embassy in Sofia are going on because the company is 100% state one.Another multinational company, Nuance, attracted by “Heinemann”s interest, is also researching the opportunities, informed the Bulgarian association for free trade.






New metallurgic factory to open in Bulgaria's Kurdzhali


A new zinc plant equipped with the latest environment-friendly technology will be built in the southern Bulgarian city of Kurdzhali.The contract for the construction of the new factory was signed on Friday by the Executive Director of the Kurdzhali Lead-Zinc Complex JSC Yordan Yordanov and the manager of the USTRA STROI construction company Nikolay Nikolov. Apart from the building of the new plant, the project also entails the reconstruction, expansion, and modernization the existing wet extraction facilities of the Kurdzhali Lead-Zinc Complex. Valentin Zahariev, the Chair of the Board of Directors of INTERTRUST Holding, which is the majority owner of the Lead-Zinc Complex, was also present at the signing of the contract. The Kurdzhali Lead-Zinc Complex produces sulphuric acid, lead, lead pipes and wire, bismuth, cadmium, zinc and zinc-aluminum alloys as well as selenium and calcium alloys for storage battery industry. It operates in both domestic and foreign markets, exporting its products to Turkey, Greece, Romania, Hungary, the Czech Republic, Macedonia, Serbia, Montenegro, Ukraine, Italy, Egypt, Israel and Syria. Presently the company has a total of 983 employees.


Bulgaria Varna soon to have new BGN 160 M stadium


The investment amount of BGN 160 million is expected for the new "Varna" stadium.
The sum could end up even higher, according to statements made in front of sports reporters today by the contractor "Project Management Company" and the investor "Sports Complex Varna". 65% of the investor's shares belong to "Himimport" while the remaining 35% are owned by the Varna Municipality.Construction works are planned to begin in the fall and are expected to continue for about 26 months with another year needed to move the infrastructure. The stadium will be fully completed in 2011 at the earliest, and is now in the technical project stage.According to the Executive Director of "Project Management", foreign specialists and materials will have to be used for the construction works because they lack in Bulgaria.The negotiations with owners of plots located near the new stadium are continuing. So far, "Sports Complex Varna" has acquired two of the plots they wish to own with five other property deals forthcoming in the near future, according to TIM's corporative secretary."Himimport" is also the investor in the track and field stadium "Mladost" (Youth), which needs another 0.4 hectares for auxiliary fields in order to respond to international standards. The company is already negotiating with the Varna Municipality. The later project has an expected investment amount of BGN 38 million and will have a capacity of 2000 spectators with all Varna residents being able to use the facility when there are no competitions. A hotel and shopping center adjacent to the "Mladost" field have also been planned.












Plovdiv's International Spring Fair draws 970 companies

The International Spring Fair in Bulgaria’s second largest city of Plovdiv will welcome 650 Bulgarian companies, 12 per cent more companies than last year, and 320 firms from abroad, the general manager of International Fair Plovdiv Ivan Sokolov told a news conference.The exhibition, traditionally focusing on consumer goods and technologies, will for the first time feature firms from Ukraine, Singapore, Norway and San Marino.This year’s special fringe event will be the new specialised yacht, boat, water sports and equipment expo, which will to resume after a several-year recess. So is the Impressia salon of arts, Sokolov added.The growing interest shown by municipalities in the fair was an emerging trend, Sokolov said. First-timers in the expo include municipalities from Greece and Spain. This year, exhibition space will sell at 2007 rates, which means 85 euro a sq m of indoor and 75 euro a sq m of outdoor space.The exhibition starts on May 12 and will run until May 17.

Siemens seeks to raise its market share in Bulgaria, Romania above 20% in 2008


German engineering company Siemens will seek to raise its enterprise communications market share in Bulgaria and Romania above 20% in the current year as it consolidates its already powerful position, a senior company official said. This is a good market, we're in a strong position, we think we can improve it," Siemens senior vice-president Mark Straton told SeeNews in an interview. Siemens, which has a share of some 20% in Bulgaria and 15% to 20% in Romania, will seek to grasp more than 20% of each market this year as the local markets themselves are seen expanding by 10% yearly, Straton said. While our market share of about 20% is impressive, we believe that with our historical presence and leading edge products and services that we will be able to continue to grow." Straton said. In the voice communications solutions segment alone Siemens has a 27% market share in Bulgaria and expects to raise that to about 30% by the end of 2009, Straton said.Bulgaria's 2007 enterprise communications infrastructure market is estimated at up to 50 million euro ($78.1 million) and Romania's totalled about 80 million euro last year, he said and added both are expected to grow by about 10% annually to 2012. You have a reasonably good infrastructure, highly educated population and ambitious workforce so it is very natural to us to come to this environment and take advantage of the business opportunity," Straton said. The products segment of the market is growing by some 7.0% to 8.0% per year, while services post a higher growth at about 15%, Straton added. In the longer run, certain changes are seen in the sector, as software-based communication servers allow for a solution, which is seen gaining popularity because of its higher cost-efficiency, he said. Communication will shift from a hardware and software product combined to pure software business for large enterprises," Straton said. According to estimates of Siemens, software-based systems, which now represent approximately 5.0% of the 35% share of Voice over IP solutions in voice communication, have the potential to take half of the voice communication market in 10 years. Eastern Europe is in a particularly advantageous position to take advantage of this technology and skip the first generation Voice over IP step that a lot of others have made," Straton said. All the markets here in eastern Europe have potential for growth because to certain extent they're catching up on infrastructure and the European Union countries are going to have a little quicker growth but the whole area for us is good business," he added. Bulgaria and Romania joined the European Union in 2007 and Slovenia became a EU member in 2004. Siemens opened an office in Bulgaria in 1991 and has had one in Romania since 1905. Siemens generated more than 68.6 billion euro in sales in the 2007 fiscal year, up from 61.8 billion euro in 2006 and its net income rose 18% to 4.0 billion last year. The company, which was set up in 1847, has 413,000 employees. Siemens (www.siemens.com) operates in the sectors of information and communication, automation and control, power, transportation, medical products and lighting, as well as financing and real estate.

Peugeot looking at four locations for eastern European plant

Peugeot Citroen is considering locations in Poland, Ukraine, Turkey and Romania for the second of two new plants set to produce low-emission engines, a spokesman said.Laurent Cicolella said the investment was likely to prove similar to the first 300 million euros factory for the engines planned in France, denying a Polish newspaper report that it was planning a larger 600 mln euro investment. 'The first plant will come on line in France and is planned to cost around 300 million,' he said. 'The second is planned to be similar, although it is a greenfield investment and may cost a little more. There are four potential locations being considered - in Poland, Ukraine, Romania and Turkey.' He said the eastern European plant, like its French twin, should employ around 500, not the 5,000 reported by Polish daily Puls Biznesu Tuesday. 'This report just appears to be wrong,' Cicolella said. The paper earlier reported a source involved in talks with the company as saying: 'Last week, representatives of Peugeot Citroen were in Poland. They are looking at sites for an investment of 600 mln euros, as a result of which 5,000 jobs will be created. They are looking for a site of around 400 hectares.'

French Lagardere Services steps Bulgarian market

‘Lagardere' Services, French company that deals with travel, high-street retail and press distribution, is recruiting staff for the launch of operations in Bulgaria, the Dnevnik a.m. reported. The first Lagardere outlets in Bulgaria are foreseen to start functioning this year. The French company has been doing business on the local market for a number of years now in partnership with ‘Axel Springer Verlag' AG Germany. Their joint venture ‘Bulgarpress' distributes international magazine and newspaper publications. According to Dnevnik, Lagardere will try to enter shopping malls and other types of retail centers and transportation hubs.

Israeli company gets credit for Business Park Varna project

Israeli conglomerate Africa Israel Investments announced on Sunday its subsidiary AFI Europe signed a deal with Investcredit bank for 59 million EUR, Reuters reported. The sum is foreseen to finance the Business Park Varna project in Bulgarian seaside city of Varna.From the company said that acquiring the property and three existing buildings cost 76,5 million EUR.From Reuters explain that Business Park Varna, located near the Varna airport and the Black Sea, includes 35,000 sq m of office space as well as another 15,000 square meters under construction.AFI Europe has 32 real estate projects in eight European countries. Africa Israel Investments has investment projects all around Russia and USA, including projects in the petrol sector.

Local water bottler ‘Devin' to become regional leader

Local water bottler ‘Devin', owned by Austrian ‘Soravia Group', intends to acquire up to three beverage companies in the Balkans in the next two years. This was reported by Tsvetan Lazhanski, chief executive of ‘Devin', quoted by Reuters.Devin' bottler, which has 30% of the Bulgarian market, may invest up to 50 million EUR per acquisition without mentioning targets or countries.Part of our strategy is to make Devin a regional leader, Tsvetan Lazhanski told Reuters in an interview.The chief executive foresees increase of 15% in earnings due to future new bottling line and export boost. He also added that expects similar stable growth over the following five years.


IKEA may re-direct investments from Poland to Bulgaria or Romania


Swedish furniture retailer IKEA threatened to freeze the bulk of its investments in Poland and redirect them to Bulgaria or Romania, Polish business daily Puls Biznesu reported. The company has apparently been ired by legislative limitations regarding the operation of large commercial sites. In particular, Poland introduced legal changes, which narrowed the range of opportunities for their operations and curbed investments in the field. Wojciech Dzwonkowski, an investment consultant at IKEA Centre Polska said the restrictions hurt IKEA's expansion plans, particularly those in Lodz and Poznan.These investments are worth 300 million euro and are to create 3000 jobs.Plans of IKEA in Poland were to open eight new IKEA stores and malls, each worth 200 million euro. IKEA plans to build three hypermarkets in Bulgaria. They are to be opened between 2009 and 2011. In its first move toward entry in Bulgaria, in early 2008 it bought a land plot in Sofia.


Companies to register chemicals for free


Preliminary registration of chemicals under the regulation on registration, evaluation, authorisation and restriction of chemicals (REACH) will be free of charge, the ministry of environment and water said. The procedure will start on June 1, when the regulation will enter into force, and will continue until December 1, 2008. The purpose of the REACH regulation is to oblige companies to prove that they use only harmless substances. Registration will be done online on the website of the European Chemicals Agency.Another registration will be carried out from December 1, 2010 for chemicals produced and imported in quantities over 1,000 tonnes per year. Two years later, chemicals in quantities between 101 tonnes and 1,000 tonnes will be registered, and finally in 2018, quantities between 1 tonne and 100 tonnes will be registered. All these registrations will require payment.

Only two companies continue race for power plant Bobov Dol


The privatisation agency informs that two companies, Consortium Energia MK and Mining Company, have submitted certification requests for participation in the tender for the coal-fired power plant in Bobov Dol before the Apr 25 deadline. Both companies are directly or indirectly controlled by local energy tycoon Hristo Kovachki, who is also in control of the coal supplies to the power plant. Three other contenders have purchased tender documents but are not interested in the next rounds of the competition --  the Greek companies Damco Energy and Sencap SA as well as Belgium ’s Electrabel. The bidding for the power plant is scheduled to take place on June 26. The price threshold for the full stake is set at BGN 100mn (EUR 51.1mn). The Greek state-owned energy company PPC won the first tender for the power plant in the spring of 2005 offering EUR 71mn for the full stake. Local authorities however rejected the offer as unsatisfactory but were forced to resume sale talks after a court appeal won by the Greeks. The sale process was blocked again by the refusal of the environment ministry to approve parameters related to the work of the power plant. The state privatisation agency discontinued negotiations with the Greeks and called a new tender a month ago. PPC is now expected to appeal the procedure before the line EU authorities.

Ministry launches tender to select firm that will work out electronic health files

Bulgaria’s Ministry of Healthcare will launch a tender to select a firm that will work out electronic health files to all Bulgarian citizens, Minister of Healthcare Dr. Evgeniy Zhelev said at the sitting of the Supreme Council of the Bulgarian Socialist Party, Focus News Agency reported. According to the minister the drafting of electronic health files will last between a year and a half and two years. In his report presented at the sitting, Minister Zhelev mentioned several problems in the field of healthcare, among which are insufficient number of nurses, concentration of medical equipment in some hospitals that did not use it enough, and others. He underlined the necessity of rules for health planning and better hospital financing.


Dell sees 2008 market gains in Bulgaria, Romania

A pipeline of product launches and expansion of the retail network will enable U.S. technology company Dell Inc. to boost its share of the Bulgarian market for desktops, laptops and servers to 8.2% in '08 from 5.2% last year, Dell country manager Bulgaria and Romania told news agency SeeNews in an interview. The company executive sees Dell's market share in Romania up to 11% this year from 9% in '07 on the back of projected sales of over 120,000 units. In Bulgaria, Dell will aim to sell 25,000-30,000 devices in '08, up from 17,110 last year. Preliminary data of market research firm IDC shows that in Bulgaria Dell moved 4,150 laptops in Q1 '08, up 275%.

Bulgarian builders eye USD 12.5 B projects in Sochi


The Bulgarian Construction Chamber and nine big companies in the sector set up an association, Bulgarian Builder, to assist Bulgarian companies applying for projects abroad, the chairman of the association, Valentin Nikolov, said. Bulgarian Builder's first target will be the Russian town of Sochi, which will host the Olympic Games in 2014.
Our interest in Sochi expands beyond the Olympic Games. The Russian government has longer-term plans for the region that include construction projects for more than USD 12.5 billion, Valentin Nikolov pointed out. The participation of Bulgarian companies in the tenders in Sochi was discussed during ex Russian president Vladimir Putin's visit to Bulgaria. Bulgarian Builder will open an office in Sochi and consult its members about the pending tender procedures. Founders of the association are companies with a total annual turnover of more than BGN 1 billion.





ECB sees 2008 inflation in Bulgaria, Romania remaining relatively high

Publication: SeeNews


The European Central Bank (ECB) on Wednesday said it expects inflation in Bulgaria and Romania to remain relatively high in 2008 because of high energy and food prices, among others. Risks exist that inflation in Bulgaria, which major international institutions see from 9.1% to 9.9% in 2008 and from 5.9% to 6.0% in 2009, may be higher than the forecast, the ECB said in its 2008 Convergence Report. Risks are associated with larger-than-expected increases in energy, food and administered prices and buoyant output growth and a strong decrease in unemployment, which imply a risk of further rises in unit labour costs and, more generally, in domestic prices, the ECB said. Bulgaria's finance ministry expects end-year inflation to slow to about 6.9% in 2008 from 12.5% at the end of last year. Inflation in 2007 was fueled mainly by rising food prices, as drought and floods damaged crops in Bulgaria at the beginning of the year. Inflation forecasts from major international institutions regarding Romania range from 7.0% to 7.6% for 2008 and 4.8% to 5.1% for 2009 with the overall balance of risks to these forecasts being also on the upside. Second-round effects of recent supply-side price shocks and administered price changes on inflation are possible, the ECB said. In February, Romania's central bank raised its inflation forecast for 2008 to 5.9% from 4.3% projected earlier, above the upper end of its target band for the year. The country ended 2007 with inflation of 6.57%, up from 4.87% for 2006. Bulgaria needs to strengthen national policies aimed at enhancing competition in product markets, as well as proceed with the liberalisation of regulated sectors and with the improvement of the country's transport infrastructure to sustain further economic expansion, the ECB said. Progress in these areas, together with a stability-oriented monetary policy, will help to achieve an environment conducive to sustainable price stability, as well as promote competitiveness and employment growth, it added. The ECB said that in order to achieve sustainable convergence, Romania should implement a sustainable and credible fiscal consolidation path as this would help to reduce demand-induced inflationary pressures and macroeconomic imbalances. In addition, it said the dynamics of credit growth and the large current account deficit and its financing need to be monitored closely. Romania's current account gap last year widened to some 15% of GDP, from around 10% of GDP in 2006. As regards product markets, Romania should make efforts to complete the liberalisation of network industries and significantly boost energy efficiency, the ECB said. Furthermore, improvements in the labour supply conditions are of big importance, as increasingly severe labour shortages are threatening the continuation of the successful catching-up process, as well as past achievements with regard to disinflation. The ECB also said that public sector wage restraint is important for moderate overall wage developments. Such measures, together with a stability-oriented monetary policy, will help to achieve an environment conducive to sustainable price stability, as well as promote competitiveness and employment growth, it added. The ECB expects that Romania's fiscal deficit, which stood at 2.5% of GDP last year, will increase to 2.9% this year, while Bulgaria, which had a fiscal surplus of 3.4% of GDP in 2007, is expected to end 2008 with a surplus equivalent to 3.2% of GDP.Bulgaria and Romania joined the European Union in 2007.



The obscure energy future

Publication: Banker Weekly   

Just some ten days ago it became clear that the building of the new power station on the site of the Maritsa-Iztok 1 thermoelectric power plant (TPP) by the US company АЕS is already late by seven months. The confession came from the investor's country manager for Bulgaria, Peter Lithgow at the opening of the concrete structure of the future station's first reactor. The feasibility study, the time for cleaning the terrain because of the asbestos discovered there, and the actions of some of the Bulgarian subcontractors, were pointed to as reasons for the delay. At the same time it was promised that efforts would be taken to at least partly make up for the delay. on paper the first 335-megawatt unit of the new TPP is to be commissioned in June 2009, and the second one - five months later. But considering the difficulties in building the turbines, the far more realistic term moves towards the year 2010. The situation regarding the Tsankov Kamak hydroelectric power plant (HPP) is even worse. Its construction started with a solemn and pompous ceremony in April 2004. The then premier Simeon Saxe-Coburg-Gotha personally detonated the first three explosives and the clearing of the construction site began. We'll take the liberty to quote part of the official information presented then. "The Tsankov Kamak water-power system is included in the national strategy for the development of power engineering till 2010 and its commissioning is planned for the beginning of 2007. A dam of 111 million cu m is projected to be built, with a 125-m-high wall, 540-m-long underground derivation and the Tsankov Kamak HPP with 80 megawatt of installed energy capacity and annual production of 185 million kilowatthours." But now, almost four years after the beginning, the terms for construction are being extended by more than 18 months, till the end of 2009, and its worth of EUR219MNB will be probably updated in accordance with the inflation rate for the passed period. In the words of Nikolay Valkanov, Executive Director of the Alpine Bulgaria company which is the subcontractor to the Austrian consortium Alpine Bau - Wateh Hydro, the delay is due to the big floods and changes of the project resulting from geological research. In addition, international experts established that the dam wall's safety should be improved and that led to a six-month delay. However, it's another question if the problems could have been avoided. But it's a fact that the lagging behind the initial schedule has a negative effect on our country's energy balance and is not the best advertisement for the Kyoto Protocol. The water-power system is a pilot initiative between Bulgaria and Austria in accordance with that document and the mechanism allows the investor (the National Electricity Company in this case) to attract cheaper financing without the need of a State guarantee. And the benefit for the Austrian Government is that it honours the commitments it has undertaken for reducing emissions of greenhouse gases. The realization of the Belene N-plant also drifts away. It's true that a few days before the Easter holidays the French BNP Paribas won the tender for choosing a structuring bank for financing the project, estimated at some EUR4BN, but the schedule for commissioning the first reactor is at least five years late from the initially planned 2009-2010. The Minister of Economy and Energy Peter Dimitrov promises that construction proper would begin by the year-end, but it's questionable if the terms fixed by him would be observed. The contractor Atomstroyexport has not presented the project for the capacity at the Nuclear Regulatory Agency and experts there will need at least nine months to consider the entire documentation and issue a building permission. We can also put the rehabilitation of Maritsa-Iztok 2 and 3 TPPs in the "list" of delays. Because of the eight-month delay in Maritsa-Iztok 2, the Council of Ministers inspectorate is already inspecting the repair of the first four units, the construction of their sulphur-purifying installations, as well as the financial condition of the company. The project costs EUR226.2MN and is implemented by the Japanese Mitsui company through a loan from the Japanese Bank for International Co-operation. The 2010 deadline by which the sulphur-purifying facilities of turbines 5 and 6 of the power plant should be built and put in exploitation will hardly be met, either. The procedure used to be financed through the ISPA programme, but because of the high prices offered by the contractors it was terminated and a new one is currently in course. Maritsa-Iztok 3 TPP which is owned by Italy's Enel missed the initially fixed deadlines, too. Modernisation started in the early spring of 2003 and was planned to last about three years. Well, it did not happen this way and one of the main contractors, Germany's DSD, was labelled the guilty one. In early 2006 the German company was replaced and the change seemed to bring results. Today all the three rehabilitated units - 1, 2 and 3, are in exploitation and operate with active sulphur-purifying facilities. once they were repaired, the installed gross capacity of each of them was increased from 210 to 227 megawatts. This increased Maritsa-Iztok 3 TPP's total capacity to 681 megawatts. The amount of sulphur dioxide emitted in the air is now more than 94% purified. Generator 4 is the only one that is not operating yet - its renovation has already begun and is progressing according to schedule. Both thermoelectric power plants are still to have difficult times. "The European Commission is going to initiate large-scale inspections in Maritsa-Iztok 2 and Maritsa-Iztok 3 and will announce whether or not they meet the requirements of the European directives for complex permissions and large fuel installations. Should inconformity with the European ecological standards emerge, the case may even go to the European Court in Luxembourg", the European Parliament Member, David Hammerstein, announced in Stara Zagora on May 2. A signal from Brussels is also expected for the selection of an investor in the construction of the new 600-megawatt power plant in the Maritsa-Iztok complex. As the Minister of Economy and Energy, Peter Dimitrov, explained, the announcement of the procedure was delayed because the European Commission had not yet approved the technology for collection and preservation of carbon dioxide emitted in the coal burning process. There are certainly more delayed projects in the Bulgarian energy sector, but it is not that important to enumerate all of them. What is more significant is that if things keep going this way, the European Union fines will be the smallest punishment for the country. The worse perspective is import of electricity and the worst one - power-supply restrictions.