The Sofia cigarette factory of Bulgaria's still state-owned tobacco giant Bulgartabac has registered a substantial growth in exports.
Sofia BT's export grew by 38.2% in the first quarter of 2011 year-on-year, according to the financial data of the company published on the Bulgarian Stock Exchange.
In the first three months of 2011, the total amount of cigarettes the country sold in Bulgaria and abroad grew by 58% y/y to reach 1.94 billion pieces. The share of the exported produce declined to 81% from 93% in 2010 Q1 because of the increased quantities sold on the domestic market.
Sofia BT's main export market is the Middle East where its exports doubled in the first quarter. However, its other export destinations – the Far East and the Balkans – performed worse.
The factory's revenues from exports grew by 50% in Jan-March 2011 to reach BGN 27 M; its total revenues grew by 63% y/y to reach BGN 32.6 M.
Thus, Sofia BT completed the first quarter with a profit of BGN 1 M, after ending it with a lost of BGN 160 000 a year earlier.
The Bulgartabac Holding companies started to generate tangibly better results after in 2010 they started to focus on exports. The holding ended 2010 with a profit of BGN 20 M.
Bulgartabac is expected to be privatized by the end of 2011.
The Bulgartabac Holding Group features two cigarette plants – Blagoevgrad-BT and Sofia BT – and a tobacco processing plant, Pleven-BT.
The consultant for the Bulgartabac sale, Citigroup Global Markets Ltd, was picked by the Bulgarian government in February 2010.
The two less profitable cigarette plants of Bulgartabac holding – in the cities of Plovdiv and Stara Zagora – were sold in 2009 through the Sofia Stock Exchange – for BGN 31 M and BGN 18 M respectively; the holding still owns the two larger and more consolidated factories in Sofia and Blagoevgrad as well as a number of commercial brands.