The privatization of the Bulgarian state-owned cigarette produce Bulgartabac will be successful thanks to the privatization criteria, according to Economy Minister Traicho Traikov.
Answering MPs' questions in Parliament Friday, Traikov defended the way the government is going about the sale of Bulgartabac Holding in spite of criticism by the opposition Socialists that it is unclear who will be responsible for the tobacco-growing and cigarette-making sector in Bulgaria once the state-owned giant is privatized.
Ten companies, including four top-notch investors, purchased tender documentation for the sale of 79.83% of the tobacco group by the deadline two weeks ago, the government's asset-selling body said in a statement. However, Philip Morris and British American Tobacco, the two biggest companies which purchased public procurement documents for acquiring a majority stake in Bulgaria's cigarette maker Bulgartabac, have no intentions to bid, according to reports.
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 bidder with the highest offer will be selected for buyer. No initial price has been set. The buyer of Bulgartabac is expected to be known in September.
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.