BULGARIAN ECONOMIC TOP NEWS DIGEST
WEEKLY REPORT ( 19 - 26 JUNE 2009 )
· Varna seeks funding for massive water project
· Wind energy production is fastest developing industry
· World Bank warns Bulgaria of short-term external debt
· Bulgaria's Fin Min satisfied with Banking system stability
· IMF deal sends a bad message to foreign investors
· Grey economy is 37 per cent of Bulgaria’s GDP
· Outlook for Bulgaria's economy is negative, European Commission says
· Bulgaria ranks 1st in Europe by gas-running vehicles
· Germany's ECE, Austria's Sparkassen to open €210 M trade and office centre in Sofia in 2010
· Austrian company plans to invest €25 M in solar park in Bulgaria
· The Belgian business interested in Burgas
· Russian investors open casinos in Bulgaria
· Bulgaria tycoon Kovachki to build SPA center in Blagoevgrad
· Sofia Airport center office tower topped out
· Promet continues to invest
· Velingrad to build airport and casino
· Kraiburg invests in Bulgaria
· KCM 2000 continues to invest
· Italcementi to idle Devnya, Dimitrovgrad cement mills
· Bulgarian welded pipe maker reports increased demand
· Bulgarian winery Vinprom Rousse expects 60% rise in exports in 2009
· IBM interested in creating traffic management system for Sofia
· Capital 100: Bulgarian firms part with buoyant growth
GLOBAL FINANCIAL CRISIS ANALYSIS AND NEWS:
· Raiffeisen Zentralbank: Bulgarian economy comes back to normal in 2010
· Irish investor in Bulgaria files for bankruptcy protection
· Power industry and crisis
Varna seeks funding for massive water project
The municipality of Varna, on Bulgaria’s northern Black Sea coast, is looking for a EUR 6.5 million bank loan to finance a major water and sewage project. Part of the money has been earmarked to co-finance the country’s most expensive technical assistance project for a water system development. Consultation will cost BGN 9.1 million. The loans, which will be secured by municipal revenue, should be repaid by September 30, 2017. The municipal authorities will seek BGN 4.5 million to finance the technical project and another BGN 2 million to cover investment costs.
Wind energy production is fastest developing industry
Wind energy production is the fastest developing industry globally, averaging a 22 per cent increase annually, said Friday Economy and Energy Minister Peter Dimitrov. He was addressing a roundtable in Kavarna on the development of wind parks in Bulgaria and nature conservation.Currently, Bulgaria has 72 wind parks with a 111 MW installed capacity, said Dimitrov. In 2008, the capacity totalled 53 MW.The roundtable is held by the European Parliament, the Kavarna Municipality and the Bulgarian Association of Producers of Ecological Energy. The European Commission is represented by Andras Demeter and Nelly Papazova of the Directorate General for the Environment.Attending are experts and senior officials of the Ministry of the Economy and Energy and the Ministry of the Environment and Waters.The roundtable tackles the need for long-term development of wind energy production in Bulgaria in compliance with a EU target some 16 per cent of energy to be from renewable sources by 2020.Investor interest in building wind farms is high, with applications submitted for 5,200 MW. The forecast is that by 2015 there will be 600 wind turbines in Northeastern Bulgaria, producing some 1,500 MW of wind power.Dimitrov outlined the need for back-up systems which will replace wind turbines during low-wind periods. The gas pipeline which runs through this part of Bulgaria is a good alternative. As Dimitrov said about twenty gas turbine power stations with a capacity of between 20 and 50 MW could be built, which will replace wind turbines in a matter of hours.
World Bank warns Bulgaria of short-term external debt
Bulgaria’s foreign currency reserves can no longer cover future external debt payments, the World Bank cautioned. The institution’s Global Development Finance 2009 report published on Sunday identified Bulgaria, Latvia and Belarus as the countries to face the strongest need for external funding and will seek foreign financing or make internal adjustments, including cost cutting. But the World Bank predicted Bulgaria will have no difficulties with rollover of short-term debt. The report got a cool reception in Bulgaria, where experts said the authors have made several grave mistakes. For instance, they had ignored the fact that half of Bulgaria’s private external debt comes from the banking sector and more than 90% of it has been provided by the foreign owners of the domestic institutions, which are ready to reschedule their debt to temper the ill-effects of the economic downturn. The other half of the external debt represents intercompany debt, and parent companies are already rescheduling. “What’s the point of a carmaker taking back its cars and then keeping them in the warehouse,” said an analyst of a Bulgarian bank speaking on condition of anonymity. Another blatant mistake identified by Bulgarian experts in the report was the estimate that the need of external financing will account for 65% of the projected gross domestic product (GDP) at EUR 22 billion, outstripping the nation’s whole short-term debt. Similar inaccuracies were spotted in the Eastern Europe reports by the International Monetary Fund (IMF), which admitted and corrected its mistakes, and by US financial conglomerate Citigroup.
Bulgaria's Fin Min satisfied with Banking system stability
"The banking system in Bulgaria is stable without the state spending a single cent of taxpayer money on their capitalization," Bulgaria's Minister of Finance Plamen Oresharski announced in the seaside resort of Nessebar on Sunday. "Our attention is primarily focused on the banking sector and I dare say our banks will retain their stability in spite of the global crisis," Oresharski assured. Yet, he admitted a rising number of bad credits, but expressed confidence that banks have enough resources to face this problem.
IMF deal sends a bad message to foreign investors
The prognoses for the development of the European countries have worsened as compared with the initial forecasts, shows the report on the state finances of the EU member states in 2009, prepared by the economic and financial department of the European Commission. Regarding Bulgaria the report goes even further - it foresees that in near future this country is likely to be unable to serve its short-term liabilities because of a persistent downward trend in the GDP rate. The prognosis about Bulgarian business is quite the same. So, we in the BIC share the concern of the European Commission. The question is if Bulgaria has to get an effective loan from the IMF. The pros and cons of such a decision should be weighed up very carefully.The advantage is that an IMF deal means fresh money, needed especially in time of economic crisis. However, the disadvantage is even bigger - if Bulgaria receives such a loan it would become a questionable and risky market to foreign investors. This would make Bulgaria unattractive to foreign investors.
Grey economy is 37 per cent of Bulgaria’s GDP
The share of the grey economy in Bulgaria’s Gross Domestic Product is about 37 per cent, according to a study by AT Kearney and Visa Europe, Peter Ayliffe, president and chief executive of Visa Europe Peter Ayliffe said in an interview with Dnevnik published on June 24 2009.The share of the grey economy in GDPs across Europe varied, he said, from 10 per cent in the UK to about 40 per cent in some countries in Central and Eastern Europe.Asked whether the incidence of card payments would help reduce the grey economy, Ayliffe said that there was a "very strong positive correlation" in countries in which his company worked between a well-developed market in electronic payments and a decrease in the grey economy.Visa Europe had been developing very successfully in recent years, even now in times of crisis, he said.The company had two main objectives, to extend electronic payments to the European market and to work with financial institutions, members of Visa, so that they develop card payments.This type of payment was growing very fast in Bulgaria, Ayliffe said. However, there would still be a very long time before it reached the levels of other European countries.The Bulgarian market provided great opportunities and was one of the markets with the greatest prospects for development in Europe, he said.Up to June 2008, Visa card payments accounted for just more than 0.7 per cent of individual consumer spending. Europe-wide, such payments were 11 per cent of all payments.Visa had recorded strong growth in the first quarter of 2009. Transactions had increased by nine per cent in Europe, in Bulgaria by more than 80 per cent, Ayliffe said.
Outlook for Bulgaria's economy is negative, European Commission says
In a report released on June 23 2009, the European Commission (EC) revised to negative its outlook for the Bulgarian economy published in April and now expects public finance to wade in the red this year and the next.It the Government sticks to the current course of action, the budget deficit will swell to 0.5 per cent of gross domestic product (GDP) for 2009 and 0.3 per cent for 2010 from a 1.5 per cent surplus seen in the previous projection.In a comprehensive report on public finance in the 27 EU nations, the EC warned that while national budgets had emerged as a key weapon in the battle against the economic meltdown, they should be managed wisely and in a way that increased spending does not place an unbearable burden on taxpayers.The report estimated that Bulgaria’s budget surplus was 1.5 per cent of GDP for 2008, falling twice short of the target in the Budget adopted a year before, mainly due to depressed revenue but also slack control over Government spending.The heaviest blow came in the final quarter of the year, when the sharp economic deterioration squeezed tax and social security receipts, while the new 10per cent flat tax rate brought in less revenue. Moreover, even after the blocked and suspended European funding opened a wider gap, the Government raised pensions and public salaries by a higher-than-planned margin.The sorry shape of the economy leaves the Cabinet little room for fiscal maneuver. With no more stimulus measures mapped out in this year’s budget, Bulgaria should further rein in expenditure if it is to balance off finances, the EC report said.The EC expects Bulgaria’s national debt will balloon as a GDP ratio in both 2009 and 2010.The report came as global agency Standard & Poor’s told Reuters that Eastern Europe faces an axe on credit ratings and economic outlooks, a mountain of private and national debt and growing insecurity.
Bulgaria ranks 1st in Europe by gas-running vehicles
Bulgaria continues to hold the first place in Europe by the percentage of automobiles running on natural gas.The data was reported by Overgas, who say the number of such vehicles has increased by 60 000 in the course of one year or 33%.The number of stations where the automobiles can be refueled with natural gas has also gone up to 77.The number of vehicles running on natural gas in the public transportation sector is also increasing. In the middle of June there were 67 such buses in Sofia, 23 in Varna and 12 in Burgas.
Germany's ECE, Austria's Sparkassen to open €210 M trade and office centre in Sofia in 2010
German construction company ECE Projektmanagement and Sparkassen Immobilien, the real estate division of Austria's Erste Bank, said on Wednesday they will open a 210 million euro ($295.36 million) trade and office centre in Sofia in 2010. In January or February 2010 we will be in a position to open the trade center and then, in the summer of next year we will open the office area," the centre's manager, Atanas Radev, told reporters during a presentation of the project. ECE started the construction of the project in 2008. Serdika Center, with a designed built-up area of 167,000 square metres (sq m), will accommodate over 53,000 sq m of retail space, 33,000 sq m of offices and 1,600 parking lots. A total 85% of the shops are already rented," Radev said. Serdika Center will accommodate 220 shops. Turkish construction company Kayi is the project's main subcontractor. Sparkassen holds two-thirds of the project, including the entire office area, while the remainder is held by ECE.
Austrian company plans to invest €25 M in solar park in Bulgaria
Austrian company Photovoltaic Tervel 1 plans to invest 25 million euro ($34.7 million) in building a solar park in northeastern Bulgaria, a Sofia-based daily reported on Monday. The company plans to build 250,000 modules for solar energy with a combined generation capacity of five megawatts on a 30-hectare area near the town of Tervel, daily Klasa (www.class.bg) reported.The park is expected to go on stream next year, the daily reported.Bulgaria currently has one operational solar park with a capacity of one megawatt. Bulgaria, a EU member since 2007, aims to increase the share of energy generated from renewable sources to 16% of its total production by 2020, compared to below 10% now.
The Belgian business interested in Burgas
Representatives of 35 companies from Burgas made contact and spoke with the Belgian delegation which visited Burgas. The delegation was led by the mayor of Ghent Daniel Termont. The meeting was held at the request of the visitors from the kingdom which is considered to be a sign of interest in Burgas. Organizers and hosts of the meeting were employees from the municipal directorate “Economics and economic activities”.The meeting was opened by the vice-mayor of Burgas municipality Krassimir Stoychev. It was announced that the first cooperation between the two towns is already contracted. In April 2010 the Burgas exhibition “Flora” will be presented in the traditional flower exhibition “Floralia”, which is held in Ghent, informed Burgas municipality.During the meeting the guests from Belgium got acquainted with the main trends in the most significant fields of the economy of Burgas.Participants in the meeting from the Bulgarian side were the regional manager of the Construction chamber in Burgas Dimiter Yanakiev, the chairman of the Burgas regional tourist association Sonya Enilova, Diliyana Ivanova from the Real estate association, Vassilii Skripka – executive director of the Free duty free zone – Burgas, representatives of the Artisan chamber and the bread producers in Burgas, Vitka Vulcheva-chair of the Trade and industrial chamber – Burgas and Tsanko Ivanov – chairman of the Burgas chamber of commerce and industry.
Russian investors open casinos in Bulgaria
Russian investors are eyeing the gambling market in Bulgaria. Boyan Mihaylov, Chairman of the Bulgarian-Russian Investment Forum, told The Standart that several Russian companies had already probed the gambling market here. According to him, the capital, Sofia, and large Black Sea cities of Varna and Burgas are far more appealing to the Russian investors than the seaside resorts, because they can attract clientele during the whole year. The gambling legislation in Bulgaria is quite liberal and the casinos here attract many Turkish and Greek gamblers and businessmen. The restrictions on gambling introduced in Russia recently are a golden chance to the Bulgarian gambling and tourism bosses. Russian gamblers will not only give some fresh air to the gasping economy, but will also save the summer tourism season.
Bulgaria tycoon Kovachki to build SPA center in Blagoevgrad
Bulgaria's energy tycoon Hristo Kovachki has acquired as a concessionaire the old bathhouse in the southern city of Blagoevgrad.The news was announced by the Blagoevgrad City Hall.The concession is for a 25-year term while Kovachki will be mandated to preserve the building's functional use and increase its capacity.The minimum investment amount, according to the contract, is BGN 4,8 M without the Value Added Tax (VAT). Kovachki will be paying the minimum concession dues of BGN 144 000 per year.The concessionaire duties include the establishment of two separate baths - male and female, building of a SPA center with Jacuzzi, sauna and a Turkish bath plus a hotel, a 250-seats restaurant, coffee shop and conference hall with a minimum of 120 seats.The building will be transferred to Kovachki in the next few weeks.
Sofia Airport center office tower topped out
Bulgaria's first Class A office building, known as Building A02, located in the Sofia Airport Center (SAC) development, has been topped out, the investors, Tishman International Companies and GE Real Estate Central & Eastern Europe, announced on Monday.The traditional topping out ceremony, held recently, included the triumphant hoisting of the Bulgarian flag on the building's roof, marking the moment when the highest structural point in the building construction was achieved.The 17,500-sq.m. office building is the first to be constructed in the Office Center and is slated for completion by the end of 2009.When fully completed, Sofia Airport Center will include 100,000 sq.m. of Class A offices with underground parking; 22,000 sq.m. of prime logistics space plus 28,000 square, meters of Class B+ offices; and a 250-room, high-end hotel with associated dining, recreational and conference facilities.Building A02 is designed with H-shaped floor plates that mix open-plan offices with shops, restaurants and other commercial services. Public areas will be accessed via a ground-level entrance.CO-VER Holding S.r.l., based in Verbania, Italy, is the general contractor for the office center of Sofia Airport Center.Sofia Airport Center is situated in a prime location immediately adjacent to Sofia International Airport, which is capable of accommodating as many as 2.6 million passengers per year and offers a new international terminal with frequent flights to cities throughout Europe.The center is approximately five kilometers east of downtown Sofia and minutes from the main road linking Sofia with Varna, Bulgaria's chief international seaport.The Los Angeles-based Tishman International is active in the United States and Europe in the acquisition, development, management, and financing of commercial real estate. Tishman has acted as a consultant and joint venture partner to some of the world's leading institutions and private investors.GE Real Estate currently has over EUR 1 B invested in Central and Eastern Europe.
Promet continues to invest
Promet, the largest safe & metal furniture manufacturer in Russia, offers job to 850 people and has two plants in Russia. The first plant abroad will be opened in Bulgaria, in the town of Kazanlak. The Bulgarian branch of Promet Bulgaria EOOD was founded in 2003 and after a few years became a chief player on the market of safes and metal office furniture. It belongs to the first five manufacturers in the world and is one of the first three leaders in Europe, Evgeniy Petrov, owner of Promet, said for the Pari daily. Some 68 workers are employed in the Bulgarian factory and their number will be raised to 100.
For the last ten years, the company's annual turnover rose by 30 to 50%. For this yea,r the results are a bit weaker because of the financial crisis. In Russia the sales have dropped by 45% since the beginning of the meltdown. The investments in the new plant in Kazanlak so far exceed EUR 8.5 million and I will continue to invest in the coming two years as there are good conditions in Bulgaria for the development of foreign business, Petrov added. Next year the warehouses will be built and in 2011 another manufacturing site with offices will be ready. Most of the machines in the plant were imported from Sweden and Finland. The production from the plant in Kazanlak will be exported in three main directions: South Europe, Central Europe, and the Near East. The full production capacity will lead to EUR 40 million sales per year.
Velingrad to build airport and casino
Velingrad municipality seeks investors to build a charter airport and a casino. The idea is to turn the town into an all-year tourist destination. The municipality offers a plot of 300 decars for the two projects. So far, there has been interest expressed by the Moscow government, the mayor of Velingrad said. The main problem in the area is local infrastructure.
Kraiburg invests in Bulgaria
Kraiburg Holding from Bavaria invests in a modern plant for rubber mixtures in Bulgaria for EUR 3.6 million and in 2010 the funds invested will amount to EUR 4.1 million. The plant is located on 20,000 sq. m and gives job to 60 people. The production of the new factory near the town of Novi Iskar is for export to Central and Eastern Europe. The exchange of goods between the two countries was EUR 664.7 million in 2008.
KCM 2000 continues to invest
The crisis in 2009 did not change our long-term investment programme but we corrected the speed of realisation of our short-term investments, Nikola Dobrev, CEO of KCM 2000, said. The total amount of the investment of Bulgaria's leading lead and zinc smelter in 2009 will reach EUR 13 million. Plans include a new lead producing plant and the mutual concession development with Minstroy AD of Varba mines in the Rhodopes.
Italcementi to idle Devnya, Dimitrovgrad cement mills
Italy's Italcementi Group will shut two of its Bulgarian plants from the beginning of August, citing plummeting demand for cement in the fallout of the global economic turbulence. Following March’s production halt, the company said in a statement the “unprecedented” actions reflect the grave market conditions. In a bid to cushion the blow, the firm will freeze wages by the end of the year and slim down its workforce. Further measures should be worked out by the end of the summer, said Neli Statelova of the firm’s local communications office. Italcementi’s two Bulgarian plants generate around 40% of the nation’s overall cement output. With an annual capacity of two million tonnes, Devnya Cement ranks as Bulgaria’s largest producer, while Vulcan Dimitrovgrad can churn out 500,000 tonnes a year. Cement demand in Bulgaria took a pounding in the first six months of 2009 as exports via the Black Sea skidded to a halt. The Devnya and Dimitrovgrad capacities are expected to stay idle for about a month as the bulk of the workers will go on a paid leave, the company said. Cement grinding, dry mixture production and distribution will continue during the shutdown. Economic woes are plaguing other cement producers as well. Last winter Swiss company Holcim temporarily closed its two Bulgarian facilities, blaming the deepening stagnation in the construction industry. The firm controls 32% of the market.
Bulgarian welded pipe maker reports increased demand
Bulgarian welded pipe producer Omega has adjusted its production in line with an increase in demand for pipe from foreign markets, the company informs Steel Business Briefing.“There has been an increase in activity on the market in the last three weeks, mainly from Romania and Poland,” the company says. “Our sales for May were 1,000 tonnes more than in April,” it continues. “We expect to keep the current sales level for the next month also,” it adds.“Regarding prices, there will be no change: Ђ400/tonne ex-works for hot rolled pipe with 1.8–6mm wall thickness and Ђ510/t ex-works for 1.2-1.4mm thick cold rolled pipe as well as 1.5mm thick hot rolled pipe.”Omega’s production capacity is 84,000 tonnes/year. As well as welded pipe, the company produces square and rectangular hollow sections.
Bulgarian winery Vinprom Rousse expects 60% rise in exports in 2009
Bulgarian winery Vinprom Rousse expects a 60% rise in exports to 10.5 million of bottles this year, as wine makers have started closer cooperation due to the global financial crisis, local Dnevnik daily reported on Monday. The annual capacity of the winery, located on the bank of the Danube river in the northern town of Ruse, is 40 million litres. Some 60% of its exports go to Russia, while the rest goes to Hong Kong, Singapore, Japan and the U.S. Vinprom Rousse is among the largest exporters to the Baltic countries and the Czech Republic. Most of Bulgaria-based wineries have decreased their exports to Russia by some 30%, Dnevnik (www.dnevnik.bg) reported. The crisis has also hit the Russian market, but we succeeded in keeping our partners while maintaining the prices," Dnevnik quoted Vinprom Rousse plant executive director Nataliya Kazakova as saying. Since the beginning of the year the winery has started bottling part of the production of Domain Menada winery, owned by French wine and spirits group Belvedere. Belvedere was hit by the global financial crisis and has started to restructure its business in Bulgaria, Kazakova said. According to Dnevnik the Menada production under the Sofia trade mark now accounts for some 25% of the Ruse winery's total output. Russia-based International Winery Trading House is the majority owner of Vinprom Rousse.
IBM interested in creating traffic management system for Sofia
The global IT giant IBM is interested in creating a traffic management system for the Bulgarian capital Sofia.The CEO of IBM Bulgaria, Alexander Rakov, presented Wednesday the company's concept - known as "Smart" - for investing into traffic management of Sofia.Rakov mentioned that IBM and the Sofia Municipality had had talks but did not provide further details.He explained the potential benefits of the traffic management system by giving Sweden's capital Stockholm as an example where the creation of such a system reduced the traffic by 22%, and the greenhouse gas emissions coming from transport by 12%. The Stockholm system charges drivers in the downtown depending on the time of the day.Rakov said Sofia's future traffic management system could be funded by the EU programs, private investors, and the municipal budget. In his words, Sofia is one of the two cities in Eastern Europe where IBM is interested in creating such a system.
Capital 100: Bulgarian firms part with buoyant growth
Propelled by rocketing prices in the first half of last year, energy and metal companies cemented their top spots in the 2008 Capital 100 ranking of Bulgaria’s largest companies.The list, which excludes the financial sector, will be published as a supplement to tomorrow’s issue of Capital weekly and will be available at www.capital.bg/top100.Bulgaria’s top ten companies generated sales north of BGN 25 billion, which accounts for 40% of the nation’s gross domestic product (GDP) for 2008. This is a staggering increase from two years ago, when the numbers were a respective BGN 10 billion and 10% lower.Strong performance in the first months helped the bulk of the Capital 100 companies to round off the year with a rise in sales. In the second half, however, as the global economic turmoil started to work its way into most sectors, almost one out of five firms saw its sales slide compared with just eight in the previous ranking.“This is another indication that Bulgaria is no longer an isolated island but follows the global trends,” said Teodora Vasileva, managing editor of Capital 100.Only 13 public companies made it to the top 100 ranking in a sign that the local stock market is little representative of the state of the Bulgarian large-scale companies. on the bright side, the top executives of the biggest firms said in a poll they do not expect 2009 to be extremely tough, forecasting an average decline in revenue of less than 9%. However, they are much gloomier about profits, seeing an almost 40% drop.
GLOBAL FINANCIAL CRISIS ANALYSIS AND NEWS:
Raiffeisen Zentralbank: Bulgarian economy comes back to normal in 2010
Despite the fact that Bulgaria is the most open of all the South European economies, the experts' opinion is that this country was less affected by the world economic crisis than other countries in the region, reads Raiffeisen Zentralbank's last annual survey of the banking sector in Central and Eastern Europe.According to experts of Raiffeisen Bulgaria, this situation has resulted from the big currency reserves that guarantee the stability of the currency board in Bulgaria, which pegs lev to euro. These factors have protected the economy and the country's financial sector from the negative impact of local currency devaluation - something that happened in other states in Central and Eastern Europe.
The Austrian analysts expect that Bulgaria's GDP for 2009 will shrink by 3.5%, but will grow by 1% in 2010.
Irish investor in Bulgaria files for bankruptcy protection
The Irish Blackwater Homes company, investor in the Bulgarian Black Sea coast, has filed for Court protection.The information is reported by the Irish business online publication thepost.ie.The firm has built several housing developments in southern Ireland and has recently expanded into overseas investments.According to the publication, Blackwater Homes is currently promoting a 354-unit development along the Black Sea Coast in Bulgaria, wich also includes a spa and a hotel.Blackwater Homes is asking the Irish High Court for Bankruptcy Protection from its creditor. The company will petition for an examiner to be installed over the business, as it seeks to restructure its debts and source fresh investment.The company has suffered from the collapse of the property sectors and is no longer able to pay its debts.An independent accountant's report has already been prepared, stating the company has a reasonable chance of survival if it can negotiate deals with its lenders and creditors.Documents filed with the court reveal Blackwater Homes is proposing the appointment of Barry Donohoe, a partner with KPMG in Cork, as the official examiner, who will have 100 days to devise a scheme of arrangement to save the business.In Bulgaria the Irish company has invested in the Crystal Spa Aparthotel, which is 4 km from the beach between Bulgaria's summer resorts "Albena" and "Golden Sands". The vacation complex boasts luxury apartments and studios.
Power industry and crisis
Businessmen and state experts exchanged opinions at the conference on Power Engineering during economic crisis organised by the Pari daily with the help of Bulgarian Industrial Chamber (BIC). For the first time in ten years there is excess of electricity in Bulgaria and the region and the reason is the economic crisis. The consumption of electricity in the country dropped by 30-40%, a precedent in the last ten years, which means that the whole economy of Bulgaria is in crisis, Hristo Kovachki, businessman and chairman of BIC, said at the conference. The reason is the reduction of the production processes in the plants and factories countrywide and the next thing to expect is a boom of unemployment, he foretold. As a result of the decreased demand, price of electricity also fell considerably. In Greece, which is the biggest power importer, the price of electricity at present is two-fold less compared to the last year. In the opinion of Kovachki, the implementation of ecological standards and the installation of sulphur purification facilities on coal power stations will make the power produced by them more expensive by 50-60%. There is potential in the use of biomass, which is four times cheaper than natural gas. Kostadinka Todorova from the Ministry of Economy and Energy pointed out that the cheapest way is to use biomass for cogeneration. Another way for optimisation of expenses is saving of energy, Todorova added.