Privatization of Troubled Bulgarian Arms Maker May Be Stopped
Emil Karanikolov, Executive Director of Bulgaria's Privatization and Post-Privatization Control Agency (PPCA), has said that the sale of the VMZ Sopot military plant will be stopped unless the sole bidder submitted a binding offer by 3 p.m. on Monday.
In a Monday interview for Nova TV, the PPCA head commented on the fate of the ailing state-owned arms maker in case EMKO EOOD reconsidered its plans to file a bid.
Karanikolov was optimistic that the sole bidder for the privatization of VMZ Sopot would file a bid by Monday afternoon.
He went on to say that there was no way of selling the plant without keeping the jobs and salaries of the workers, thereby sidestepping the requirements listed in the privatization strategy approved by Parliament.
Karanikolov explained the options for VMZ Sopot if EMKO EOOD failed to submit a binding offer.
"If no sale of VMZ Sopot is achieved, there are several options, including bankruptcy proceedings, drafting a new strategy and voting it in Parliament, or sale without conditions," the Executive Director of the PPCA said.
He emphasized that the initial expectations for greater interest in the privatization of the arms manufacturer had remained unfulfilled.
The initial deadline for submission of a binding offer for VMZ Sopot expired on Friday but the governing body of the PPCA decided to extend the deadline by Monday afternoon to enable the sole candidate to give more thought to the bid.
Emiliyan Gebrev, owner of EMKO EOOD, met Friday with the heads of the two trade unions at VMZ Sopot to tell them that he had to lay off 1800 employees from the total of 3200.
Dimitar Atanasov, representative of the Podkrepa Labor Confederation at the plant, subsequently informed that the investor had sought an overall change in the privatization strategy which the trade unionists had opposed.
Meanwhile, workers of the troubled arms maker continued Monday their months-long protests over delayed salaries.