The European Court of Human Rights has ruled in favor of three Bulgarian nationals, who brought a case against Bulgaria, claiming to be successors to shareholders of a brewery in Plovdiv, which was nationalized in 1947.
After eighteen years of court battles, the heirs to shareholders in Bulgaria's earliest commercial brewery "Kamenitza - Frick and Sulzer" enjoy every chance to obtain shares in Kamenitza AD since the Strasbourg court ruling allows them to go to law over the number of shares they are entitled to.
The case in the European Court of Human Rights concerns a dispute about the determination of the applicants' entitlement to shares in the brewery following restitution and privatisation legislation introduced in 1992.
Relying on Article 6 § 1 (right of access to court), the applicants complain in particular that the domestic courts dismissed their claims without undertaking an independent review of the Government's valuation of their properties.
The court awarded EUR 4,000 to the heirs of the first applicant for non-pecuniary damage and EUR 2,000 each to the second and third applicants.
Bulgaria's earliest commercial brewery was established in Plovdiv by the Swiss Germans Rudolf Frick and Friedrich Sulzer in 1876.
It became a large and modern factory in 1879/1881 with the help of another Swiss expert, Christian August Bomanti.
Production began in 1882 in the Kamenitsa area near the city and continues today, its successor being the Kamenitza brewery.
Kamenitza AD, which was until last year part of Interbrew, renamed InBev after the merger of Interbrew and AmBev, is the second biggest brewery in Bulgaria.
Its diverse brand portfolio includes international Stella Artois and Becks and local Kamenitza, AstikA, Burgasko , Pleven, Slavena.
Anheuser-Busch InBev sold its operations in seven countries in Central Europe and the Balkans, including Bulgaria, to private-equity firm CVC Capital Partners in December 2009.