No Plans for Stake Sale in Bulgaria Energy Monopolists
Bulgaria's government has refused to heed calls for selling on the stock exchange shares in companies, which are part of the Bulgarian Energy Holding.
“We are not planning for the time being to list energy companies from the Bulgarian Energy Holding on the bourse,” Deputy Economy and Energy Minister Maya Hristova announced.
In her words the government plans to privatize the remaining shares of energy companies, in which the state holds a minority share.
“We are yet to see what the format will be, but we are certainly speaking here about a package of companies with state-owned shares,” Hristova explained.
At the beginning of this week the government announced plans to sell the remaining minority stakes it owns in 55 former state-owned companies on the Bulgarian Stock Exchange, including a 33% stake in the electricity distribution companies, minority shares in military factory Arsenal, Kempisnki Hotel Zografski and others.
Bulgarian Energy Holding, which groups the country's top energy assets, was set up in 2008 by the previous Socialist-led government in a bid to strengthen the country's position on the European power market and manage major energy projects Bulgaria has committed to, including Belene nuclear power plant, Nabucco and the South Stream gas pipelines.
The holding was created with the merger of five state-owned companies - the National Electricity Company NEK, the gas monopoly Bulgargaz, the Maritza Iztok Mines, the Maritza Iztok 2 Thermal Plant, and the Kozloduy Nuclear Power Plant into a EUR 4 B energy giant.
It is a sole owner joint-stock company with a 100% Bulgarian state ownership.
The new center-right government of GERB party, which swept the July general elections last year, subjected the Bulgarian Energy Holding to financial checks to find out how the money poured into it for raising its capital has been used.
At the end of August last year it announced plans to dissolve the mega-structure only to abandon them a few months later after cost reductions helped it cut its budget deficit.
Bulgaria is targeting a balanced budget this year.
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