Views on BG | October 11, 2001, Thursday // 00:00

BTA News Agency

IFC, part of the World Bank Group, unveiled in Washington its 2001 report, which contains information on Bulgaria, Deutsche Welle cited San Francisco correspondent Lada Trifonova as saying. IFC has invested in the privatization of Bulgaria`s biggest bank, Bulbank, which should encourage the disbursement of business loans. In Bulgaria, IFC invested in the manufacture of high-tech components, which promoted production in a region with high unemployment figures. A copper smeltery is also being financed to introduce the most advanced European technologies. In Bulgaria, as well as in other East European countries, many privatized companies failed in their attempt to cope with the new markets but there are success stories as well, the report notes. IFC has given the Sofiamed company, otherwise teetering on the brink of bankruptcy, an opportunity to become a profit-maker. The proposed project will revive the inoperational company and transform it into a modern, productive enterprise that can put out 120,000 tonnes of copper and copper products annually. Sofiamed went private in 1997. The new owners failed to turn the company into a profit-maker and incurred losses until production halted completely in 1999, the report says. The new owner, Halcore, intends to resume production under a plan that complies with environmental protection standards. The involvement of the IFC and their expert opinion will contribute positively to the investment program, which meets all relevant WB and EU standards. New jobs will be created under the project, which is very important contribution in light of the stubbornly high domestic unemployment. Once it is completed, the smeltery will increase its payroll from 200 to 500, the report says.

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