A notice for the privatization of Bulgaria's former state tobacco monopoly Bulgartabac Holding is due to be published in the State Gazette on 10 May.
The promulgation will mark the start of the third official attempt to sell the state-owned stake in the company, which is expected to be successful thanks to the political consensus the deal now enjoys, the agency for privatization and post-privatization control said.
A majority stake - 79,83% - in Bulgaria's state cigarette producer Bulgartabac Holding, whose management has been harshly criticized in recent years, was put on sale on April 26 after years of procrastination.
The asset-selling agency invited strategic and financial investors to buy tender documents by June 10. Binding offers have to be filed by the end of August.
The bidder with the highest offer will be selected for buyer. No initial price has been set.
Philip Morris International Inc., Japan Tobacco Inc. and Korea's KT&G have shown interest in a 79.83 percent stake in Bulgartabac, according to Privatization Agency chief Emil Karanikolov.
Bulgarian cigarette maker King's Tobacco has also confirmed its interest in the deal, provided that it meets the requirements.
The buyer of Bulgartabac is expected to be known in September.
In spite of declarations in April 2010 that Bulgaria's Privatization Agency hoped to complete the sale of state-owned cigarette monopoly Bulgartabac in 2010, no such deal went through by the end of December 2010.
The consultant for the Bulgartabac sale, Citigroup Global Markets Ltd, was picked by the Bulgarian government in February 2010.
Two of the less profitable 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 currently owns the two larger and more consolidated factories in Sofia and Blagoevgrad as well as a number of commercial brands.