Bulgarian Oligarch Moves to Swallow MKB Unionbank

Business » FINANCE | March 18, 2013, Monday // 15:28

Bulgarian First Investment Bank, known to be controlled by controversial businessman Tseko Minev, is the sole bidder for the sale of Bulgarian MKB Unionbank.

First Investment Bank has filed a binding bid worth some BGN 100 M, about half of MKB Unionbank's own capital, according to information by Bulgarian newspaper Capital Daily.

Hungarian OTP Bank, thought to be another likely buyer, has not filed an offer yet, writes the newspaper.

MKB Unionbank is held by German Bayern LB via Hungarian MKB Bank. Bayern LB has stated in the past that it is in no hurry to sell Unionbank, meaning it would be looking for a profitable price.

Tseko Minev, president of the Bulgarian Ski Federation, has become notorious for standing behind a number of tourist development projects requiring bypassing or relaxing environmental regulation.

Under Minev's rule, the Bulgarian Ski Federation has been confirmed by monitoring agencies to have sourced state subsidies to companies controlled by Minev.

The businessman is known to control two of Bulgaria's major ski operators - Yulen, working in Bansko, and Vitosha Ski, near capital Sofia.

First Investment Bank is a large creditor to a number of major Bulgarian industrial enterprises that have suffered financial hardship.

As an example, end of 2012 the bank bought substantial assets of a debtor - the largest Bulgarian non-ferrous metal works, OTzK Kardzhali, and has closed down production.

The bank is also a creditor to Bulgaria's largest state weapons factory, VMZ Sopot, which experienced severe financial hardship in early 2013.

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Tags: MKB Unionbank, German, Bayern LB, tseko minev, First Investment Bank, Yulen, Vitosha Ski, environmental, OTZK, VMZ Sopot, Kardzhali, German, Hungarian, Bulgarian Ski Federation

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