Bulgaria’s privatisation agency called a tender in June for the sale of flag carrier Bulgaria Air. The agency will hold a two-stage public tender for 99.99% of the capital, with the government retaining a “golden share” to safeguard the national interests. The tender will be open to strategic and financial investors from Bulgaria and the European Union. Strategic investors will have to show revenues of at least €150 million ($190 million) for each of the past two years, and 750,000 passengers, while financial investors are required to have managed assets of no less than €250 million.

Four companies have expressed interest in the privatisation, covering both strategic and financial investors, and have 25 days from 7 June to buy tender documents. The four are Austrian Airlines, Russia’s Ilyushin Finance, York Capital Management of the USA with Olympic Investors, and Bulgarian private airline Hemus Air. PA executive director Todor Nikolov told Bulgarian national radio that privatisation could be completed by October.

According to its executive director Zlatin Surustov, the airline would need a capital increase of at least €8 million and investments of some 1.5 million in know-how and software systems.

In 2005, Bulgaria Air had revenues of 210 million levs ($140 million), up 40% over 2004, but net profit fell by two-thirds to 500,000 levs. ■

Source: Airline Business