German Investor May Take Over Management of Bulgarian Burgas Shipyards
First Investment Bank, the main creditor of the Burgas Shipyards AD, has expressed interest in handing over management of the company to a German investor.
Radoslav Valchev, a representative of the Bulgarian office of the German company, explained Friday in an interview for the Bulgarian National Radio (BNR) that the company had prepared a rehabilitation plan for the factory.
The fate of the Burgas Shipyards AD is to be decided next Wednesday.
Valchev noted that in the case of a decision to hand over the management of the Burgas Shipyards to the German investor, the public tender for the sale of its property would be stopped and the laid-off staff would be reappointed.
Meanwhile, some 150 former employees of the Burgas Shipyards, who were made redundant without receiving salaries for several months, threatened to stage protests in Strasbourg.
In a letter to Burgas District Governor Pavel Marinov, the workers insisted that they be informed whether the Burgas Shipyards would be declared bankrupt or would switch to a rehabilitation plan.
No final decision has been reached on the bankruptcy proceedings for the Burgas Shipyards.
On Thursday, the assets of the company were put up for sale for BGN 47 M.
The assets of the company were subdivided into several lots, so that bidders could apply for them separately. The tenders have been scheduled for mid-April.
Deputy Prime Minister Daniela Bobeva explained Friday in Parliament that the state could not interfere in the matter at present for two reasons, including the tender procedure and the fact that the move would be interpreted as state aid under EU laws.
Bobeva suggested that there were other problems apart from the huge debts of the Burgas Shipyards, including changes to the spatial development plan of Burgas envisaging municipal streets running through the factory's territory.
She claimed that it was one of the reasons why the Burgas Shipyards had failed to find an investor despite the fact that it had attracted investor interest.
Citing an analysis drafted at the request of the government, Bobeva stated that Bulgaria could sell 1000 locally manufactured ships on an annual basis.
Stressing the lack of support for the sector in the past few years, she said that the number of companies in the shipbuilding business had dropped from 45 in 2005 to 26 in 2012.