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16-08-2017 - Bulgaria's Terminali gets 27-yr concession for Plovdiv intermodal terminalLINK

SOFIA (Bulgaria), August 16 (SeeNews) – Bulgaria’s government said on Wednesday it has granted a 27-year concession contract for the operation of an intermodal terminal in the country's second largest city of Plovdiv to local company Terminali. Under the signed contract, Terminali must invest at least 15.1 million levs ($9.0 million/7.7 million euro) in the intermodal terminal, 2.2 million levs of which during the first two years, the government said in a bourse filing. It will also pay an annual fixed concession fee of 60,000 levs plus at least 10% of the terminal's net revenues. Terminali will also pay a one-time concession fee of 5,000 levs. The construction of the intermodal terminal cost 13.94 million levs and took about two and a half years to complete, according to data published on the website of Trace Group Hold, the local company which had built the facility. The project was financed with EU funds and the Bulgarian government budget. Plovdiv-registered Terminali is owned by PIMK Holding Group, which is majority owner of local transport and logistics company PIMK.

29-05-2017 - One offer for participation in the concession procedure of Intermodal Terminal - Plovdiv was submittedLINK

The received offers for participation in the open procedure for concession of "Intermodal Terminal in the South Central Planning Region in Bulgaria - Plovdiv" were opened in the presence of the Minister of Transport, Information Technology and Communications Ivaylo Moskovski. A proposal for participation from “Terminali” EAD was received.

The prospective operator will have the obligation to finance the maintenance, management and modernization of the site for a period of 27 years. The participant designated as a concessionaire must invest in the terminal at least BGN 4 687 600 without VAT for the entire period of the concession. Apart from this, the minimum fixed concession payment to the state is BGN 50 000 per year, as the amount will be indexed every three years according to the reported inflation. Once the concession contract entering to force, the participant will be obliged to make an additional one-time concession payment of BGN 5,000 without VAT, as well as to pay a percentage of the annual net incomes, which should not be less than 10%.

The estimated revenues for the state for the entire period of the concession are BGN 1 255 000 without VAT. The amount includes the minimum amount of the fixed annual concession payment (BGN 50 000 without VAT) and the one-time concession payment. The amount of the variable part of the annual concession payments is not included as they are of a prediction nature and depend on the financial results of the concessionaire for the respective year.

Intermodal terminal – Plovdiv is funded by OP Transport 2007-2013 and national co-funding. The site has a great strategic and economic significance in regional, national and European-wide aspects. The main purpose of the project is to achieve an improvement of the intermodality in the Southeast region of the European Union by creating conditions for optimal interaction and integration of the different modes of transport.

30-03-2017 - Minister Alexiev: By the mid of the year the whole railway line Septemvri-Burgas is to be completedLINK

I expect the rehabilitation of the last section from Septemvri to Stambolyiski to be completed by the mid of the year, by which the whole railway Septemvri-Burgas will be completed. That stated the Minister of Transport, Information Technology and Communications Hristo Alexiev during the inauguration of the renewed Stambolyiski-Plovdiv railway line and the newly constructed Intermodal Terminal- Plovdiv.

Minister Alexiev announced that there has been invested 630 million BGN under Operational Programme on Transport 2007-2013 for the modernization of the direction from Septemvri to Plovdiv. “By the mid of the year the renewed railway line from Septemvri to Burgas will allow traffic of passenger trains with speed to 160 km/h“, said the Minister. Under his words, the distance from Septemvri to Burgas would be passed for under 3 hours, and thus the time would be halved. The Minister added, he expected by 2022 to be completely finalized the railway artery, which connects Serbia through Bulgaria to Greece and Turkey and through the port of Burgas to the Middle East.

Hristo Alexiev explained that the new railway lines are electrified and equipped with modern ERTMS systems, which are compatible all over Europe and ensure the highest level of safety. “In parallel to the infrastructure, we also renew the railway stations along the new alignments in order to ensure a better comfort to the passengers“, clarified the Minister.

“Plovdiv is a crossroad between two European corridors and a crossing point of two road and railway arteries. That is the reason namely here to be constructed the first intermodal terminal, constructed with European funds”, stated the Minister Alexiev, and added that the site has already received Act 16.

Moreover the Minister recalled that in parallel to the construction of the terminal, there has been launched a procedure for its granting to a concession. “The performed studies show that is more appropriate a private operator to manage such a logistic center”, specified the Minister. Hristo Alexiev added that due to appeals, at the present stage, the procedure has been suspended and its second launch is to start. Under his words, after the realization of the transport projects in the region of Plovdiv during the recent years, it already has all the preconditions to become a logistic center for business and commerce.

02-11-2016 - Bulgaria opens concession tender for Plovdiv intermodal terminalLINK

Bulgaria's government said on Wednesday it decided to open a tender for a concession contract for the operation of an intermodal terminal in the country's second largest city of Plovdiv.
The concession will be granted for a period of 27 years, the government press office said in a statement.
The terminal should be fully operational by early December, the transport ministry said last week.
Its construction totalled 13.94 million levs ($7.9 million/7.12 million euro) and took about two and a half years, according to data published on the website of Trace Group Hold, the local company which carried out the construction works. The project was funded by the EU and the state budget.

08-09-2015 - Bulgaria's Transport Ministry seeks contractor for concession analysesLINK

Bulgaria's Ministry of Transport, Information Technology and Communications seeks a contractor to prepare concession analyses (technical, financial, legal and environmental analysis) for granting concessions "Intermodal Terminal in South Central Planning Region in Bulgaria - Plovdiv".Bids are received till September 7, 2015 and will be opened on 8 September at 10:30. The second part of the work of the consultant is to prepare a draft justification of the concession, the concession contract, documentation for participation in the open procedure and the decision to initiate the procedure. Intermodal terminal near Plovdiv, the first constructed in the country with public funds, will be ready in early 2016. The first sod was made this year.National Railway Infrastructure Company concluded this year a series of contracts for the preparation of railway projects. One of them is railway junction "Plovdiv". The investment in the site, according to the designers Transgeo, amounts to about BGN 321 million without VAT reports American Chamber fo Commerce, Bulgaria

19-06-2015 - The construction of the intermodal terminal in Plovdiv startedLINK

Official start of construction works for building the intermodal terminal in the South Central region was given at the railway station "Kableshkov" in the village Zlatitrap.

The total project cost amounts to over 10.3 million BGN without VAT and includes the cost of the overall preparation and construction of the terminal.

Over an area of 71 450 m? will be built a platform for loading and unloading containers from wagon to car and vice versa, platform for the storage of containers, area for damaged containers and equipment, special places for refrigerated cargo units, administration building for customer service , areas for customs control and customs warehouse service, area for the mobile terminal equipment, parking for cars and trucks and checkpoint.

It is expected the project to to start functioning in the beginning of 2016.

20-05-2015 - Bulgaria economy minister to open new plant of Behr-Hella ThermocontrolLINK

Sofia. Bulgarian Minister of Economy Bozhidar Lukarski will open a new plant of German Behr-Hella Thermocontrol company at the Bozhurishte industrial zone in the Bulgarian capital city Sofia. The official opening ceremony will take place at 10:45 a.m., the press office of the ministry announced.
The investment of the company is for greenfield construction of a high-tech production and development centre for the management, use and regulation of automobile air conditioning and heating systems, as well as elements for the management of engine cooling systems.
Behr-Hella Thermocontrol services world brands like Mercedes, BMW, Volkswagen, Scania, Volvo, Skoda, Seat. The new jobs that will be opened with the realisation of the investment will reach 330 by the end of 2016.

19-05-2015 - Plovdiv Now Officially Proclaimed European Capital of CultureLINK

The title European Capital of Culture has officially been awarded to Plovdiv Tuesday.

The second biggest Bulgarian city will be sharing the title with the Italian city of Matera.

'' This title is a true recognition for Plovdiv and gives a chance to Bulgaria to come forward and become more noticeable on the European map,'' said Ivan Totev, Mayor of Plovdiv.

The official announcement was made at the meeting of the Council of Ministers of the EU, held in Brussels Tuesday.

Plovdiv was recognized for its realistic budget, original projects, as well as exceptionally strong artistic program. The jury, consisting of 13 foreign and local professionals, was highly impressed by the great ideas, positive outlook and the fast pace of project development. Sofia, Varna and Veliko Tarnovo also competed for the prestigious title in 2014.

Meanwhile, the municipality of Plovdiv is in the process of preparing a celebration ceremony set to take place on May 23. A day prior to that the emblematic tourist attraction in town - The Singing Fountains will also be re-opened.

Plovdiv largely impressed the jury not only with its cultural heritage and artistic endeavors, but also with the project ''Together''. It is set on uniting people of various backgrounds, generations and ethnic origins so that they can all contribute to the cultural development of the city.

Additionally, another long-standing cultural project has already been launched. ''Kapana - neighborhood of art industries'' is a project that is set on attracting arts and crafts enterprises in the center of town. The ambitious plan involves restoration, preservation and further explore the emblematic for the history of the town location.

A number of events will be taking place this year as a part of the cultural program in town - Opera Open to be held in the Ancient Theater ( June 19 - July 22), One Design Week ( 19-28 June), International Folklore Festival ( August 3-8), Street Masters 9 June 24-27), Plovdiv Reads ( June 8-14), Plovdiv Dances (June 6), International festival of Chamber Music (June 10-22), Film Nights in Filipopolis ( July 1-30), Theater Panorama of Comedy (June 3 - September 30) and many more.

19-05-2015 - InvestBulgaria Agency Head Brags about 3.5-Fold Rise in FDI in Q1, 2015LINK

In the first quarter of 2015 Bulgaria registered a 3.5-fold increase in foreign direct investment, according to Stamen Yanev, Executive Director of the InvestBulgaria Agency (IBA).

In a Tuesday interview for the Bulgarian National Television, Yanev said that in Q1, 2015 FDI stood at EUR 317.3 M, or 0.7% of the GDP, compared to a rate of EUR 89 M in the period January-March 2014.

He noted that March 2015 had fetched an increase in investment by EUR 52.8 M.

Yanev, as cited by the press office of the IBA, made clear that investors who were expected to bring investments of over BGN 400 M and create around 300 jobs over the next 2-3 years were about to be awarded certificates.

He added that in Q1, 2015 GDP growth amounted to 2%, adding that this was a sign that the business climate was improving.

Yanev reminded that Bulgaria was to receive BGN 2.8 B under the operational program Innovations and Competitiveness 2014-2020.

The Executive Director of the IBA informed that the agency was organizing a forum on May 28 in Sofia that would bring together all large-scale investors in Bulgaria over the past 10 years.

14-05-2015 - Unemployment Rate in Bulgaria Dropped to 10.7 % in AprilLINK

According to the latest figures of the National Employment Agency, which were released on Thursday, the unemployment rate in Bulgaria in April stood at 10.7 %.

This was a decrease of 0.3 % compared to March and a drop of 1.1 % compared to the same month in 2014.

The number of registered unemployed persons in Bulgaria stood at 350 318 in April, which was a decrease of 11 193 people compared to March.

Compared to the same month in 2014, the drop was even more marked, as the number of unemployed people decreased with 36 307.

The unemployed people getting a job in April, amounted to 27 102, which was an increase of 6 377 compared to March.

The vacancies in the real economy amounted to 20 671 in April, which was an increase of 901 compared to March and a growth of 2260 compared to April 2014.

Seasonal sectors, such as process manufacturing, hotels and restaurants, commerce, agriculture, forestry and fishery, construction, transport, storage and postal services, offered the highest number of vacancies.

The largest increases in the number of vacancies were registered in hotels and restaurants, process manufacturing and construction.

17-04-2015 - Minister Moskovski inspects the construction of the railway line in Septemvri - PlovdivLINK

The traction substation in the town of Preslav will be completed by the end of June. It is part of the modernization project of the railway section Septemvri - Plovdiv. This was confirmed by the contractors during a meeting with the Minister of Transport, Information Technology and Communications Ivaylo Moskovski. The Minister continues the inspection s of the railway projects are being implemented with EU funds.

Minister Moskovski checked the construction works along all the lines of the project. He visited the railway stations in Kadievo, Ognyanovo and Pazardzhik and the adjacent railway infrastructure. The Minister asked the contractors for full mobilization during the active construction season and was adamant that he will not tolerate delays in deadlines or poor performance. Ivaylo Moskovski also visited the railway stations at Kazichene and Poduyane where now GSM-R towers are under construction. They are part of the telecommunication network that is being developed under the same project.

Minister Moskovski inspected the area near the railway station of Kableshkov where construction of Plovdiv Intermodal Terminal is to start. During the meeting with the project manager, the Minister committed to assist with the swift obtaining of the necessary permits. Immediately upon their receipt the construction of the terminal will be launched.

The project "Modernization of railway station Septemvri - Plovdiv, part of the Trans-European railway network" is worth more than 630 million levs. It is funded under the Operational Program "Transport" 2007-2013 and is divided into four Lots. Lot 1, which covers the route Septemvri - Pazardzhik has been completed at 40%. The progress on Lot 2 Pazardzhik - Stamboliyski is 28%, and Lot 3 Stambolijski - Plovdiv - 58%. The implementation of Lot 4, which includes the construction of signaling systems in the region from Plovdiv to Septemvri and telecommunication systems along the route from Sofia to Plovdiv, is at 47%.

13-04-2015 - Turkish Stream, South Stream Costs Comparable, Energy Official SaysLINK

The cost of the future Turkish Stream gas pipeline project is comparable to the cost of the abandoned South Stream project, according to Gurkan Kumbaroglu, President-Elect of the International Association for Energy Economics (IAEE).

"We have not yet finished all the calculations. I think the cost is comparable to the cost of the South Stream project," Kumbaroglu said at the Valdai Club conference on European energy security in Berlin on Monday.

The cost of the South Stream project, designed to carry Russian natural gas under the Black Sea to Bulgaria and further west to Europe, was estimated at EUR 15.5 B.

Announcing the project’s suspension in December 2014, Russian gas giant Gazprom said it would build a pipeline from Russia under the Black Sea to Turkey instead that will be able to deliver gas to Europe via a distribution centre at Turkey’s border with Greece.

According to Kumbaroglu, the Turkish Stream is a more practical project compared to the concept of the South Stream project from an economic point of view.

"Turkish Stream is beneficial for all parties - the EU, Turkey, and Russia," Kumbaroglu said.

The so-called Valdai Club, named for the lake on the shores of which its first meeting was held, is a gathering of Western and Russian analysts, journalists and officials, some of whom are critical of the Kremlin.

IAEE is a United States-based worldwide non-profit professional organization.

Meanwhile, Russia's Ambassador to the EU, Vladimir Chizhov, said on the sidelines of the conference that the European Commission should have no formal reasons to object to the construction of Turkish Stream but is interested in maintaining the transit of Russian gas via Ukraine’s territory for political reasons.

“I hope the European Commission won’t politicize this subject and we could be able to cooperate on the project,” Chizhov said.

Speaking at the conference, Gazprom CEO Alexey Miller said the Russian company with work in compliance with the EU’s so-called Third Energy Package in building the infrastructure of Turkish Stream.

The regulation bans gas suppliers from owning the pipeline infrastructure, aiming to increase competitiveness. The European Commission cited Gazprom’s failure to comply with the regulation as a reason to object to the construction of South Stream on the territory of EU member Bulgaria.

"We’ll launch the [Turkish Stream] construction once we receive all permissions," Miller said, according to TASS.

He also said Gazprom has no need to discuss Turkish Stream’s leg under the Black Sea with its European partners.

Miller added the European infrastructure for accepting deliveries of Russian gas through Turkish Stream should be in place by 2019.

12-04-2015 - Bulgaria among Top 10 in EU by Transparency in Public Procurement - MinisterLINK

Bulgaria is among the top 10 in the EU by transparency in public procurement and among the top 5 by electronization of the process, according to Economy Minister Bozhidar Lukarski.

In a Saturday interview for Bulgaria On Air, Lukarski announced that a team of the Economy Ministry under the authority of Deputy Prime Minister Tomislav Donchev was working on a new Public Procurement Act.

Bulgaria’s Economy Minister, as cited by investor.bg, assured that the new Public Procurement Act could be in place in the first half of the year.

Citing statistics of the Sofia-based office of the European Commission, Lukarski noted that Bulgaria was among the top 10 in the EU by transparency in public procurement and among the top 5 by electronization of the process.

Lukarski vowed that e-public procurement would be universally available in the EU by 2020.

He expressed satisfaction that the European Commission had backed the attempts of Bulgaria to boost the development of the country’s northwestern region, the poorest region in the EU.

Lukarski reminded that the EC had approved the application guidelines envisaging funding of up to 60% for medium-sized enterprises and up to 70% for small enterprises based in Bulgaria’s northwestern region, as well as the awarding of 5 extra points to projects from the area seeking EU funding.

He reminded that EC data indicated that Bulgaria’s northwestern region was the least developed in the EU because it lacked a strong regional center, which was why it was being given preferential treatment.

Lukarski said that Bulgaria’s southwestern region, which included Bulgaria’s capital, had been granted the smallest number of preferences.

He pointed out that the funding awarded to Sofia was included in the sum allocated to the area.

Bulgaria’s Economy Minister underscored that the application guidelines and criteria under operational program Innovations and Competitiveness 2014-2020 had been streamlined so as to ensure an objective and efficient evaluation process.

Lukarski stated that the operational program sought to give a boost to the launch and development of small and medium companies, adding that firms which had submitted a project under the program in the 2007-2013 period would be given a lower number of points, while entities which had participated with two or more projects would not be awarded any points.

“The idea is to allow a larger number of SMEs to access funding,” he declared, stressing that companies were supposed to use EU grants as an instrument for support for the initial stages of development of their businesses instead of relying solely on EU money.

Lukarski informed that the application process under the first axis of the operational program, “Improving Production Capacity of SMEs”, would be launched on April 20, adding that the funding allocated under that axis amounted to EUR 150 M.

He said that companies which failed to reach the goals set out in their projects would have to return 5-25% of the EU funding.

04-04-2015 - Farmers' Market for Bulgarian Products Opens in SofiaLINK

A special market selling only Bulgarian agricultural products was launched on Saturday in Sofia, a week before Orthodox Christians mark Easter.

It is located in the Ivan Vazov residential district, just by the "regular" market a few hundred meters from the South Park.

Agriculture Minister Desislava Taneva and Sofia Mayor Yordanka Fandakova attended the opening of the "Easter market" which has the goal of promoting local foods such as dairy products, honey, and spices.

Visitors will also be able to buy lamb beet and kozunak, which is a traditional Bulgarian Easter bread.

The market will be open between April 4 and April 9.

04-04-2015 - Bulgaria to Set Up 19 Visa Consular Services Across RussiaLINK

Bulgaria's Foreign Minister Daniel Mitov announced on Saturday that Sofia would take measures to eases access to Bulgaria for Russian tourists.

In his words, the move could allow "all Russian tourists who want to come to Bulgaria to do it."

Mitov's comments come as many experts and tourist industry representatives had raised their concern that tourist flow from Russia would decrease this summer due to the sanctions Europe has imposed on Moscow over the Ukraine crisis.

The Bulgarian top diplomat told Bulgaria On Air TV station that alongside Tourism Minister Nikolina Angelkova he was working to attract tourists from a host of countries including Belarus or Turkey.

He pointed to the fact that in many countries near Bulgaria, the number of tourists from Russia had declined dramatically in 2015, most notably in Greece (4 times), Egypt (by 50%) and Turkey (by a quarter).

In another interview for the Bulgarian National Radio on Saturday, however, he added that comments about an expected drop in the numbers with regard to Bulgaria is "part of the mass disinformation on the issue".

"Over 300 000 Russian citizens own properties in Bulgaria and will virtually come home bringing their families... If there is a drop in Russian tourists, it will be due to the decreased purchasing power."

In the same conversation Mitov downplayed recent reports that Russian citizens (and most notably civil servants) had been told not to travel to Bulgaria.

11-03-2015 - Bulgaria Leads in Rise in Commercial Property Sales in EU in 2014LINK

Bulgaria posted the biggest rise in sales of commercial real estate in the EU last year, a new study has shown.

According to the latest edition of Cushman & Wakefield's International Investment Atlas, commercial properties worth USD 286 M (EUR 254 M) were sold in Bulgaria last year, an increase of 226% over 2013.

The statistics cover sales of offices, hotels, industrial properties, retail centres and land designated for construction purposes

The annual study covering property markets in 62 countries in the world has been presented in Sofia by Forton International, the strategic partner of Cushman & Wakefield for Bulgaria and Macedonia.

The recovery of the commercial property market in Bulgaria had accelerated in 2014 led by a rise in demand and occupancy rate in the segments of office and industrial properties, Forton CEO Michaela Lashova commented.

This in turn led to a rise in investors’ interest in launching new projects as well as acquiring existing commercial properties that operate and generate revenues, she added.

Investment activity in the commercial property sector in Bulgaria is expected to remain high this year, depending mainly on the economic growth in the Eurozone which is the country’s biggest trade partner.

Domestic investors will remain the key driver of sales growth in Bulgaria's commercial property sector, while the share of foreign capital will increase mainly in transactions for buying land for construction purposes and launching new projects or restarting frozen developments.

16-02-2015 - Turkish Businesses to Invest in Balkan CountriesLINK

Alaattin Bayraktar, General Vice President of the Turkish Industrialists' and Businessmen's Confederation of Business Women, has vowed substantial investments in Balkan states in 2015.

Bayraktar, as cited by the Bulgarian Telegraph Agency, made clear that the investments would mostly target the sectors of energy, textile, tourism, and food industry in Bulgaria, Albania, Croatia, Macedonia, and other Balkan countries.

The Chair of the Confederation, Emine Atasoy, took part in talks with representatives from the Balkan states to discuss opportunities for facilitating Turkish investors and improving economic conditions.

According to a written statement of the Confederation, the trade relations with the Balkan countries will be carried out with the cooperation of the Turkish government.

22-01-2015 - Bulgaria Needs to Absorb 600 Million Euro under Operational Programme Transport in 2015 So As Not to Lose FundingLINK

Sofia, January 22 (BTA) - Presenting the annual report on the progress in the implementation of the Operational Programme (OP) Transport, Transport, IT and Communications Minister Ivailo Moskovski said Thursday that Bulgaria needs to absorb 600 million euro in 2015 so as not to lose funding under the OP. Moskovski said that work on absorbing the money will be a big challenge to the Ministry and the OP beneficiaries but said that every effort will be made so as not to allow any loss of funding.

The Minister noted that no loss of funding under the OP was allowed in 2014, although there was one critical moment. Moskovski said that the entire available funding under the OP has been contracted. Paid out funding exceeds 1,500 million euro, or 71-72 per cent of the OP. Nearly 1,100 million euro have already be reimbursed to the national budget by Brussels, he said.

Twenty-two investment projects are funded by the OP. Seven of them are completed. More than 250 km railways have been rehabilitated or newly built. More than 150 km of motorways have been commissioned. Work continues on 15 major projects,
including the Strouma and Maritsa motorways and the Sofia underground railway. Other big project include the construction of coastal centres in Varna and Bourgas, the rehabilitation of the Septemvri-Plovdiv railway, the modernization of the Central
Railway Station in Sofia, the construction of an intermodal terminal in Plovdiv.

Moskovski spoke about the existence of an option to hold talks with the European Commission on the N+3 rule, which has been negotiated for some countries. If Bulgaria succeeds in negotiating the rule, it will give a breath of fresh air to the projects, he said, adding that if this is not achieved, efforts will be made to complete the projects within 2015.

Source: Sofia

17-01-2015 - Bulgaria's Investment Agency to Establish Regional Unit in PlovdivLINK

Regional units of the Bulgarian Investment Agency and the State Agency for Promotion of Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) will be established in Plovdiv.

This was announced by Bulgaria's Economy Minister Bozhidar Lukarski after a meeting with Mayor of Plovdiv Ivan Totev and mayors of other municipalities in the region on Friday, electronic daily Dnevnik reports.

Last year nine municipalities and two clusters signed a memorandum for the joint development of Trakia (Thrace) Economic Zone, 24 Chasa daily reminds.

Lukarski explained that the establishment of regional units will aid the presentation of the economic zone, the local economy and industry at exhibitions and fora.

The representatives of Trakia Economic Zone requested help from the government in the construction of the infrastructure leading to the zone and a roundabout at its entrance, which connects it with Plovdiv.

Trakia Economic Zone unites six industrial zones in the vicinity of Plovdiv, with 114 Bulgarian and foreign companies having invested over EUR 1 billion and created 15 000 work places.

The executive director of the economic zone Plamen Panchev announced that the opening of another 30 000 work places is foreseen in the next 10 years.

16-01-2015 - Bulgaria’s Govt to Restore Halted TrainsLINK

Transport Minister Ivaylo Moskovski has assured that no more trains will be dropped from the schedule of the state-owned Bulgarian State Railways (BDZ).

Moskovski told journalists Friday that the state-owned railway carrier would be given back the sum of BGN 40 M it had been deprived of through a subsidy cut.

He said that the government would strive to receive notification by the European Commission for the state aid.

Moskovski made clear that the development of railway transport was a priority for the current government.

He specified that Bulgaria expected to receive a total of EUR 350 M under the Connecting Europe Facility for trackside construction and upgrade, adding that projects for intermodal terminals in Plovdiv and Ruse had been launched, as well as the construction of subway sections in Sofia.

Bulgaria’s Transport Minister announced that a plan for the restructuring and stabilization of Holding BDZ was being developed.

Moskovski, as cited by investor.bg, said that he had not given up on the sale of the freight unit of the company, BDZ Freight Services, adding that no candidate had shown up.

He pointed out that the company had run up debts of around BGN 109 M and had closed 2014 at a loss of around BGN 15 M.

Asked to comment on the reasons for stopping 38 trains on January 12, Moskovski declared that the measure had been necessitated by the subsidy cut by BGN 40 M, adding the subsidy of the state-owned railway company for 2014 had also been downsized by BGN 40 M, which had resulted in a failure to carry out repair works worth BGN 25 M and a loss of BGN 15 M by the end of the year.

14-01-2015 - EUR 2 million technical assistance contract for the construction of Ruse Intermodal TerminalLINK

Bulgarian National railway infrastructure company (NRIC) and Dunav Group signed a BGN 3.8 million (EUR 2 million) technical assistance contract for the construction of intermodal terminal in Central-North Planning Development Region in Bulgaria-Ruse.

The project includes the preparation of a feasibility study together with all the necessary technical, economic and environmental evaluations; preparation of the conceptual design; development of procurement strategy and preparation of tender documentation for the construction works. The documents are to be submitted in 12 months.

The construction of Ruse Intermodal Terminal is scheduled to be carried out during 2016 - 2020.

The global project aimsto create the conditions for the optimal combination and integration of various transport modes and a higher quality of freight transport services. This can pave the way for low-cost, high-volume freight transport from the Black Sea area to Central Europe and the EUN "poles" of trade. It will also allow new demands to be met, as the latest forecasts show a significant increase in traffic in regards to Turkey-Ukraine/Russia.

10-01-2015 - Turkey to Build High-Speed Railway Line to BulgariaLINK

Turkey is building a high-speed railway line to Bulgaria, according to Transport Minister Lutfi Elvan.

Elvan, as cited by Daily Sabah and dir.bg, informed that the rail line would connect Istanbul to the Kapikule border crossing point and would run through Edirne.

He made clear that the tender would be held in 2015.

Elvan said that the mega projects on which Turkey was working included the North Marmara Highway, the Third Bosphorus Bridge, and the two-track railway line that would run across the bridge.

He announced that the road connection to Greece was also being improved and that railway tracks were being thoroughly renewed.

Turkey’s Transport Minister also voiced hopes that Greece would improve its railway network.

27-11-2014 - "Tyrbul" will invest 15 mln. EuroLINK

The Greek company "Tyrbul" will invest 15 million Euro in its dairy in Sliven, in the next two years. The funds will be for new production facilities and equipment, reported Capital.bg.

"About 3 million Euro will be invested in new buildings in the plant in Sliven, 7 million Euro will cost the automation and mechanization in the production and with other 3 - 5 million Euro will be purchased new machines, which are German", said Dimitrios Sarandis, CEO and co-owner of the company.

In 2003, "Tyrbul" invested BGN 17 million in the construction of dairy in Sliven. The investment is defined as the biggest in Sliven region. Next year "Tyrbul" launched its first production of hard cheese of the brand Olympus. In 2007, the company installed one of its kind in Bulgaria line for pasteurization and filling of cottage cheese in packages. The company built a new wastewater treatment plant.

23-11-2014 - Textile exports are on the rise: Bulgaria exports costumes to ItalyLINK

There was a 7-8% export growth of the Bulgarian textile industry and in 2014 it is expected that the branch will grow further. For 2013, exports reached EU R1.8 billion- the highest level since 2007. These results bring Bulgaria's textile industry closer again to the strongest periods and the highest levels of export before the global economic crisis.

This means that European markets have largely recovered and began again to rely on Bulgarian products, experts say.

There was also growth in the turnover index of the companies where the increase last year approached 10%, says Radina Bankova, Chairman of BAATPE (Bulgarian Association of Producers and Exporters of Apparel and Textiles). "This year we do not have firm and final statistics, but we assume that the results will be good. Businesses are working hard and there is a great interest in all kinds of clothes - from socks and underwear to coats," she said.

There is also an increase in demand for clothing in the domestic market, but unfortunately mainly in products produced in other countries, such as China.

The main markets where Bulgaria exports remain the European markets - Germany, Italy, Greece, France, Spain.

There is very strong growth in clothing of women's and men's upper garments such as jackets, and ladies' and men's suits and trousers. In knitted things, however, things go a little slower. Companies specialized in clothing did rely almost exclusively on exports because in Bulgaria the situation still remains dire for producing for the domestic market.
Копирано от standartnews.com

13-11-2014 - Organic Farming Becomes Priority Of Agriculture MinistryLINK

Organic farming and continuous support of livestock breeding and horticulture will be the top priorities of Bulgaria's Ministry of Agriculture, said Agriculture Minister Desislava Taneva at a news conference.

She said she was expecting the Brussels' approval of the new Rural Development Programme and the saving of BGN 1.7 B from the old one. Those payments were halted because the programme lacked inspection and certification.

According to Taneva, the ministry will work for diversification of Bulgaria's agriculture, support for the small and medium agricultural producers and sustainable development of the rural areas.

“We are not going to be generous in promises, but in fulfilled commitments,” Taneva said.

13-11-2014 - Organic Farming Becomes Priority Of Agriculture MinistryLINK

Organic farming and continuous support of livestock breeding and horticulture will be the top priorities of Bulgaria's Ministry of Agriculture, said Agriculture Minister Desislava Taneva at a news conference.

She said she was expecting the Brussels' approval of the new Rural Development Programme and the saving of BGN 1.7 B from the old one. Those payments were halted because the programme lacked inspection and certification.

According to Taneva, the ministry will work for diversification of Bulgaria's agriculture, support for the small and medium agricultural producers and sustainable development of the rural areas.

“We are not going to be generous in promises, but in fulfilled commitments,” Taneva said.

12-11-2014 - INTERVIEW - Billa Bulgaria eyes profit in 2014, to invest 12-15 mln euro annually by 2020LINK

SOFIA (Bulgaria), November 12 (SeeNews) – Billa Bulgaria, the Bulgarian arm of Austria-based supermarket chain Billa, expects to post a profit this year on the back of higher turnover, the company's CEO said.

Billa Bulgaria is seen closing 2014 with a profit of around 300,000 levs ($190,355/153,389 euro), Nikolay Petrov told SeeNews last week on the sidelines of a media event in Sofia, without providing comparative figures.

“We finally expect a positive financial result, meaning the crisis is behind us and we have come out of it healed and stronger,” Petrov said.

The retailer also expects its turnover this year to be 6.0% higher than a year earlier.

Billa Bulgaria intends to invest in its operations between 24 million levs and 30 million levs annually over the next five years, the company's CEO also said. The funds will be allocated to the launch of new stores and the reconstruction of existing ones, as well as to energy efficiency.

“In 2019 investments will increase slightly as we plan to reconstruct more stores,” Petrov noted.

The CEO also said the company intends to open eight new stores in 2015.

“At this stage we are focusing our expansion plans on the country's four largest cities – Sofia, Plovdiv, Varna and Burgas, though we do not rule out other cities, as well,” Petrov said. “Our expansion targets are cities with a population of over 20,000-25,000.”

The company expects to sign an agreement for a new store in Haskovo, in the southern parts of the country, by the end of this week.

This year Billa Bulgaria invested 20 million levs and opened six new stores, Petrov said during a news conference last week.

He also said that by the end of 2014 the company will operate a total of 91 stores with a combined retail area of 86,000 square metres.

Billa entered the Bulgarian market in 2000 and is part of Germany's REWE Group. It operates in 35 cities across the country.

(1 euro = 1.95583 Bulgarian levs)

12-11-2014 - Survey Underscores Growing Divide between Southern, Northern BulgariaLINK

A survey of the Institute for Market Economics (IME) think-tank has sounded the alarm about the growing divide between northern and southern Bulgaria.

According to the survey, there is no district where children of up to 15 years of age outnumber people aged 65+.

No district has registered population growth since 2010, the lowest growth ratios being in Vidin, Kyustendil, Montana, Pernik, Lovech, Vratsa, and Gabrovo.

On the positive side, the survey indicates slow but tangible economic recovery.

The economic activity of the population increases and employment rates go up in the majority of districts in 2013, despite the fact that they fall short of pre-crisis levels.

According to the IME, there have been municipalities which have registered very rapid economic recovery over the past two years, succeeding to attract investments and boost living conditions despite the crisis, the most notable example being Burgas.

Estimates of the quality of the environment improve and there share of people with access to sewerage systems increases, as well as the share of people connected to water purification units.

In 2013, cinema and theatre attendance rates reach record-high levels for the past few years and the trend is observable in small districts too, for instance Targovishte.

At the same time, many districts register acceleration in EU funds absorption in 2013. For the third year in a row, Gabrovo emerges as the best-performing district by EU funds absorption per capita, followed by Burgas.

On the downside, the spheres of education and healthcare are characterized by negative trends which are largely attributable to the lack of clear reform plans of the government.

The share of people with health insurance drops from 87.3% to 86.1%, while the enrollment rate of students in 5-8 grade drops from 81.0% to 79.7%.

Despite the fact that the situation on the labor market improves on the whole, a large part of the districts are not involved in the process.

In 2013, the employment rate of people aged 15+ remains below 40% in seven districts, all of them in northern Bulgaria, including Vidin, Vratsa, Lovech, Montana, Razgrad, Silistra and Targovishte. At the same time, southern Bulgaria claims the major portion of new jobs.

The only districts to register population growth in 2013 are Sofia and Burgas.

The relative share of road surface in good condition has decreased, according to Road Infrastructure Agency data, as cited by the IME.

There are significant differences in the capacity of municipalities for successful EU funds absorption. Population-weighted EU funds absorption in 2013 varies from BGN 0 to over BGN 4 000 per capita in the different municipalities.

In over 50 Bulgarian municipalities, including Plovdiv and Kyustendil, EU funds absorption amounts to less than BGN 100 per capita.

Household income data for the past 10 years indicates a growing divide between the capital and the poorest districts.

In the period 2004-2013, the average annual rate of income growth in Sofia stands at 12.79%, compared to an average of 8.50% for the country.

Lovech reports the lowest income growth rate, at 2.90% per year.

Electronic services and one-stop-shop services are developing slowly and the estimate of businesses of the quality of e-services deteriorates on an annual basis.

The estimate of the work of the local administration deteriorates and the corruption perception index worsens.

Throughout the survey period, Sofia remains a separate cluster and the differences between the capital and the other districts fail to diminish.

The cluster comprising districts in poor social and economic condition increases from 2 (in 2012) to 3 (in 2013) to 5 districts (in 2014), according to the IME.

08-11-2014 - Who Are Bulgaria's New Ministers?LINK

Bulgaria's Prime Minister Boyko Borisov and his cabinet involving participation or support from a total of four parties were approved and sworn in by the National Assembly on Friday.

Eleven of them are from Borisov’s centre-right GERB party, six represent right-wing Reformist Bloc (RB) and one comes from left-wing ABV party.

You can find more about them by clicking the links.

Borisov has four deputies – two from GERB and one from RB and ABV each.

Rumyana Bachvarova (GERB) is the new Deputy Prime Minister in charge of coalition policy and state administration, while Tomislav Donchev (GERB) will oversee absorption of EU funds and economic policy.

Former EU Commissioner for Consumer Affairs and current RB co-leader Meglena Kuneva is also vice-premier and is in charge of EU policies and institutional matters.

Former Socialist MEP Ivaylo Kalfin and current deputy leader of left-wing ABV party will be Deputy Prime Minister in charge of demographic and social policy.

Vladislav Goranov (GERB) who served as deputy finance minister in Borisov’s previous government (2009-2013), will take over the Finance Ministry, while RB’s Bozhidar Lukarski will be Economy Minister.

The Ministry of Economy and Energy, an super-institution that was in charge of overseeing the two sectors but also tourism, is now split into three: Economy, Energy and Tourism.

Temenuzhka Petkova is to oversee Energy while former caretaker Transport Minister Nikolina Angelkova has headed the newly-formed Ministry of Tourism.

Veselin Vuchkov, who was deputy interior minister in Borisov’s previous government, will be the new Interior Minister.

Lilyana Pavlova, who served as Minister of Regional development in Borisov’s previous cabinet, will take up the same post in the new government.

Borisov’s former Transport Minister Ivaylo Moskovski will hold the same portfolio in the new cabinet.

Former GERB MP and mayor Ivelina Vasileva heads the Environment Ministry, while GERB's Desislava Taneva gets Agriculture.

Krasen Kralev takes up office as Sports Minister.

The Culture Minister is now renowned sculptor Vezhdi Rashidov, who held the post in GERB's previous government.

The RB for its part is also represented by Daniel Mitov and Hristo Ivanov.

Mitov, the Minister of Foreign Affairs in the current caretaker cabinet led by Georgi Bliznashki, will carry on in the same position in Borisov’s cabinet.

Caretaker Justice Minister Hristo Ivanov will also retain his post in the coalition cabinet led by Borisov.

Other RB nominations in the new cabinet are Todor Tanev, Nikolai Nenchev and Petar Moskov.

Tanev is taking education and science portfolio, Nenchev will be Defense Minister, while Moskov will be Health Minister.

04-11-2014 - Bulgaria becomes regional center for agricultural cooperation between China and CEE countriesLINK

During the 9th Agro-trade and Economic Cooperation Forum between China and Central and Eastern European Countries held in Bucharest, Romania on October 29th, it became clear that Bulgaria will be playing the role of a regional center of cooperation in the field of agriculture. It was decided that an association for the promotion of agricultural cooperation between China and the countries of Central and Eastern Europe would be established in Sofia. The idea initially came from Bulgaria a year ago during the previous meetings between the 16 CEE countries and China.

According to Chinese Premier Li Keqiang, China plans to double its trade with the CEE countries and significantly increase investment over the next five years. China has already opened a credit line for CEE, totalling 10 billion US dollars. China is interested in investing in high-speed rail construction, ports, roads, as well as construction of power plants, including nuclear ones. China also has the intention to restore the mythical Orient Express, this time through ultrafast trains linking Beijing with Paris.

04-11-2014 - Bulgaria is 48th in the ranking of the most prosperous countries in the worldLINK

Bulgaria occupies 48th place in the ranking of the most prosperous countries in the world according to the annual ranking published by the British research center Legatum Institute, reported the British "Telegraph". Top positions in the rankings take Norway, Switzerland and New Zealand.

Bulgaria climbs up one place compared to last year's ranking. Our neighbors Greece and Romania are respectively on 59th and 60th places.

In top ten are Denmark, Canada, Sweden, Australia, Finland and the Netherlands, United States are 10th. In this rating China occupies 44th position and Russia - 68th.

The ranking is determined according to eight indicators, including strength of the economy, state of the national healthcare system and education and public safety, social freedoms, business climate and management system.

02-11-2014 - Plovdiv Attracts Three Outsourcing CompaniesLINK

Bulgaria's second largest city, Plovdiv, has attracted three large outsourcing companies, according to Mediapool.bg.

During the Bulgaria As An Outsourcing Destination conference, which took in Plovdiv in the end of this week, it transpired that within the next few monthst, the companies Scale Focus, 60К and UNIFY.

60K will open its office in the beginning of 2015. It will employ 100 people and bu the end of the year might increase its staff to 150-200 people.

According to Plovdiv's deputy mayor Stefan Stoyanov, the main attractions of Plovdiv as an outsourcing destination are the good demographic indicators, the geographic locations and the good education system in the city.

31-10-2014 - Bulgaria-Macedonia Rail Line to Start Functioning in 2022LINK

Macedonia’s Transport Minister Mile Janakieski expects the Bulgaria-Macedonia rail line to start functioning in 2022.

The transport ministers of Bulgaria, Macedonia, and Albania participated Friday in a conference held in Sofia.

The participants in Friday’s event made clear that the first stage of the rail line from Kumanovo to Belyakovtsi was being built, while the construction of the second stretch to Kriva Palanka and the third section to Gyueshevo was to start in 2015 and 2017, respectively, according to reports of the Bulgarian National Television.

The three countries will apply for EU funding for the finalization of the Trans-European Corridor 8.

Albanian Transport Minister Edmond Haxhinasto announced that Trans-European Corridor 8 was essential for the country, especially for its ports.

Haxhinasto said that Albania was striving to not lag behind Macedonia in the work on the project.

The three ministers agreed to set up a working group and to elect a coordinator of the joint project and to organize a trilateral meeting of the transport ministers on an annual basis.

31-10-2014 - Sofia Metro To Reach Airport In AprilLINK

The extension of Sofia's red line will reach the airport in April 2015, said Sofia Mayor Yordanka Fandakova who inspected the construction process.

The inspection established that the work was 72% complete and the metro station at the airport will be finished by end of November.

“This metro station will be the first impression of Sofia for those who land at the airport,” Fandakova said, quoted by Mediapool.bg. “But it is most important that the fast and convenient public transport to reach the airport.”

According to Fandakova, the other extension of the red line, to the business park in the Mladost 4 district, is 60% complete, but the traffic along the “Aleksander Malinov” boulevard would most likely be restored by November 20.

30-10-2014 - New EUR 150 mln. for small and medium enterprisesLINK

The European Union may grant 150 million euro for equity investments in small and medium enterprises and start-up companies in Bulgaria in the next programming period 2014-2020 as a part of Operational Programme "Competitiveness and Innovation". This became clear at the ninth annual conference of "Capital" "Deals and investors" on Tuesday.

If such decision is taken and the agreement is signed the 150 million euro will be divided into four types of funds. The management of each of them will be allocated to different companies and each will seek additional private financing - the total amount will be considerably higher.

22-10-2014 - Economic forum “Bulgaria’s new economy – heading East” starts todayLINK

Over 70 local and foreign companies as well as ambassadors and representatives of diplomatic missions in Bulgaria – those of Vietnam, Lebanon, Marocco, China and Russia, Turkey and Estonia among others, are to take part in the second International investment forum entitled “Bulgaria’s new economy – heading East”. The event, which kicks off today in the Black Sea town of Pomorie will continue three days. The aim of this investment forum is to become a place for public dialogue on current economic and infrastructure issues, and an efficient platform for work among Bulgarian and foreign investors, the organizers of the event inform.

18-10-2014 - Italian town to be 2019 Capital of CultureLINK

A small Italian town has been picked to be European Capital of Culture in 2019.

Matera, close to the country’s southern heel, will share the title with the Bulgarian city of Plovdiv.

The ancient centre of the town – suspected to be among the first human settlements in Italy – is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

The Swedish town of Ume? and Riga Latvian hold the title this year.

16-10-2014 - Bulgaria Posts EU's Largest Annual Deflation Rate in SeptemberLINK

Euro area annual inflation was 0.3% in September 2014, down from 0.4% in August which is the lowest rate recorded since October 2009, according to Eurostat statistics.

The European Union annual inflation was 0.4% in September 2014, down from 0.5% in August. This is the lowest rate recorded since September 2009. In September 2013 the rate was 1.3%. The monthly inflation was 0.3% in September 2014, data released by the statistical office of the European Union shows.

In September 2014, negative annual rates were observed in Bulgaria (-1.4%), Greece (-1.1%), Hungary (-0.5%), Spain (-0.3%), Poland (-0.2%), Italy, Slovenia and Slovakia (all -0.1%). The highest annual rates were recorded in Romania (1.8%), Finland (1.5%) and Austria (1.4%).

Compared with August 2014, the annual inflation fell in seventeen Member States, remained stable in two and rose in nine. The largest upward impacts to euro area annual inflation came from restaurants and caf?s (+0.09%), rents (+0.07%) and maintenance of vehicles (+0.05%), while fuels for transport (-0.21%), telecommunications (-0.12%) and gas (-0.08%) had the biggest downward impacts.

14-10-2014 - GERB, DPS To Negotiate On Government FormationLINK

The centre-right GERB and the Movement for Rights and Freedoms (DPS) will negotiate on Tuesday afternoon on the formation and support for new government.

At a press conference on Monday DPS leader Lyutvi Mestan said his party will offer unconditional support for a minority GERB government, but refused to support a government formed in coalition with far nationalist parties.

The negotiations will be held by Tsetska Tsathceva, Menda Stoyanova and Rumyana Bachvarova from GEBR and Aliosman Imamov, Rushen Riza and Yordan Tsonev from DPS.

The negotiations between GERB and the second-largest in Parliament Bulgarian Socialist Party (BSP) on Monday failed and BSP will remain in opposition.

14-10-2014 - President Plevneliev: Bulgaria Becomes Preferred Place for Investments in High TechnologiesLINK

Bern/Sofia, October 14 (BTA) - Over the past few years Bulgaria has become a preferred destination for setting up shop or opening outsource facilities of leading high-tech companies suchas HP, SAP, IBM, Cisco, Oracle, R&M, Bulgarian President Rosen Plevneliev said Monday, during a business forum in Bern attended by nearly 70 Swiss business representatives. Plevneliev is on a two-day visit to Switzerland.

The Bulgarian head of State said that the companies in this sector report annual turnover growths of 10 per cent, while the IT workforce increases by 4.8 per cent. The Bulgarian companies in the sector export goods and services worth 1,200 million euros.

Plevneliev said that Bulgaria is also becoming an established manufacturer of automotive parts, which creates more prerequisites for an even more active partnership with established Swiss companies. "The production in this sector in Bulgaria totals 1,500 million euro annually so that today, in 8 out of every 10 cars in Europe there are parts made in Bulgaria," Plevneliev said.

He said that the leading country in automotive production in Europe, Germany, is showing an ever bigger interest in the Bulgarian automotive sector. Plevneliev noted the cooperation between the governments of Bulgaria and of the German Baden-Wuerttemberg province in the implementation of project called Auto Park Bulgaria in the Danubian town of Vidin. Part ofthe financing of the project will come from the EU Danubian Strategy.

In Bern Plevneliev said that Bulgaria is gradually overcoming the consequences of the downturn and is reporting a growth in exports and its Gross Domestic Product. "Our objective is to also increase the amount of foreign direct investment by means of strategic partnerships," the President said.

Swiss investments in Bulgaria in 1996-2013 totalled nearly 1,300 million euros, but according to Plevneliev, the new framework of economic partnership ensures that much more can be attained. In Plevneliev's words, the model of partnership between the Bulgarian and the Swiss businesses could make Bulgaria into a hub of Swiss investments in Southeast Europe. The President alsooutlined the opportunities the region provides as a whole, noting that in the past few years it has been working hard for cohesion and integration.

14-10-2014 - Bulgaria draws EUR 500 million in EIB loans for EU projectsLINK

Sofia. Bulgaria will draw a loan of EUR 500 million from the European Investment Bank (EIB) in order to provide national co-financing for EU projects during the next programme period 2014 – 2020, Stroitelstvo Imoti weekly writes.
The loan has been the subject of negotiations for a long time, while the interim government only finalised the deal. Following the EIB’s approval, the loan requires the endorsement of the new Parliament, Deputy PM in charge of EU funds Iliyana Tsanova explained.
Until the end of the month EU auditors will arrive in Bulgaria in order to make sure that the systems for EU funds control and management are operating efficiently.

14-10-2014 - 15 projects were approved under JESSICA in BulgariaLINK

Sofia. In an interview for Stroitelstvo Gradat weekly, Martin Zaimov, executive director of Regional Urban Development Fund, commented on the JESSICA fund.
He said that at present there were some fifteen projects that were approved under JESSICA.
They will receive a total of BGN 75 million. One third of the funds will be provided by the fund and two thirds – by Societe Generale.
Some of the projects approved under JESSICA include the renovation of three buildings in Ruse, building Maritsa eco-park in Plovdiv, renovation of cinema halls in Stara Zagora, etc.

14-10-2014 - New factory with foreign investment was openedLINK

The executive director of InvestBulgaria Agency Svetoslav Mladenov participated at the opening of the new factory "VERNADA" in Gorna Rosica, Sevlievo. The official ceremony was attended by the Interim Deputy Minister of Economy and Energy Branimir Botev, the State Secretary of Romania Bogdan Pandelica, the ambassador of Israel in Bulgaria Khamis Shaul Raz and the Israeli Ambassador in Romania Dan Ben-Eliezer, the Bulgarian Ambassador in Bucharest Alexander Filipov and Romanian diplomats.

The factory in Gorna Rosica is specialized in production of hummus based salads under the Israeli technology. VERNADA company has invested over BGN 2.5 million, half of which are European investments provided under Measure 123, and the rest of the funds are provided by its Romanian partner OCEAN FISH. The company’s monthly capacity is of 45 tones of packaged salads, most of which are exported to the Romanian market. An export to Israel is being negotiated.

13-10-2014 - New Faces Rather than New Parties Needed in Politics, Respondents Say in SurveyLINK

Sofia, October 13 (BTA) - People are disappointed with the way representative democracy functions in this country rather than with the democratic system. This is evident from the results of a survey conducted in May-June 2014 among 1,302 respondents within the first stage of a Citizens' Debate for Change Project, implemented by the Balkan Assist Association.

The results of the survey were made public at a BTA-hosted news conference on Monday. The predominant part of respondents are young people under 30, people in active employment, low-income private-sector employees, urban dwellers and secondary-school and university graduates.

Disappointed as they are with representative democracy, those polled do not deny it wholesale but demand changes in the election system (65 per cent of respondents) and above all insist on the appearance of new faces in politics (71 per cent) rather than of new parties.

On a massive scale, those interviewed want to be able to recall municipal councillors and members of Parliament for whom they have voted if they are dissatisfied with their performance. Some60 per cent back electronic voting, but a relatively large proportion of 'don't know' answers were given to this question.

Some 60 per cent support compulsory voting, and within them 35 per cent firmly advocate it. Preferential voting is approved by some 70 per cent (for municipal councillors), 65 per cent (for MPs), and 60 per cent (for MEPs). About one in five respondents are not clear what preferential voting means, said Dr Petya Kabakchieva, who presented the survey.

What people want is more democracy, a more active involvement ofcitizens in governance processes. Extreme forms of political governance like dictatorship or a single-party system do not meet with broad support, and support for governance by a strong leader without parliament has decreased as well.

Most of those polled want more powers and rights for citizens toshare in governance: to be entitled to propose bills, to elect the representatives of civil society and the members of public councils. The prevalent opinion favours a stronger citizen control over power-holders' decisions and actions: some 80 per cent insist on that. A little over 60 per cent back the idea of citizens making the important decisions directly.

As regards personal involvement in the decision-making process and control over Parliament and municipal councils, the enthusiasm tangibly wanes: just 23.6 per cent of respondents actually want to enter this process and participate in the work of some National Assembly committees, compared to 80 per cent who insisted on this participation, Kabakchieva commented. She described this effect as "Facebook behaviour": you declare a
desire to participate in some event, but those who do so in practice are several fold fewer.

The survey invites the conclusion that most respondents, especially the young and the educated ones, start developing a political participatory culture. At the same time, however, awareness of the essential democratic procedures and mechanisms is at a low level, and voting is above all for personalities andnot for policies and programmes. That is why, civic education must be enhanced, the experts recommend.

10-10-2014 - Bulgarian export to EU risesLINK

In the period January-July 2014, Bulgarian export to the EU rose by 3.6 percent in comparison to the same period last year and amounts to 7.8 billion euro. The major trade partners of Bulgaria are Germany, Italy, Romania, Greece, France and Belgium. Export to these countries reaches 72.3 percent of total export to the EU. Bulgarian import from the EU in the period January-July 2014 rose by 2.3 percent in comparison to the same period in the previous year and reaches 9 billion euro. Foreign trade balance of Bulgaria with the EU is negative and totals1.25 billion euro.

10-10-2014 - Wei Jinghua: Chinese-Bulgarian Cooperation Opportunities Not Yet Fully TappedLINK

Novinite.com is interviewing ambassadors of Bulgaria's main trading partners as well as neighboring countries. Here is the interview with the Chinese Ambassador to Bulgaria Wei Jinghua.

What projects for trade and economic cooperation are actively discusses between China and Bulgaria at present?

In economic terms China and Bulgaria largely complement each other, the cooperation potential is high. In the course of their development in the past thirty years of pursuit of a policy of reforms and opening up to the world many industrial sectors in China have already assumed leading global positions, examples being high-speed railways, nuclear power generation, renewable energy resources, green technology, communication equipment, agriculture, etc. Bulgaria is situated at a transportation hub between the Eastern and Western states, with very good natural conditions, skilled manpower and relatively low cost of investment expenditure. Following the principle of mutual benefit China and Bulgaria could quite realistically link their business in areas of mutual interest and pursue joint development. Since last year the Bulgarian Prime Minister, the Speaker of the National Assembly and the President of the country have successively visited China and the Bulgarian side has held a series of investment and tourism forums in Beijing, Shanghai, Shenzhen and other cities in China. Parallel with that Chinese business delegations have held 8 business forums in Bulgaria and over 500 Chinese entrepreneurs have visited the country in quest of cooperation opportunities. These contacts have helped enhance the two countries’ knowledge about each other and have fostered cooperation between companies in various areas. Chinese statistics indicate that in 2013 the trade exchange between the two countries for the first time exceeded USD 2 billion, which was almost 10% up from the level for the previous year. Moreover, Bulgaria’s exports to China have increased considerably and bilateral trade exhibits a balancing trend. Furthermore, the companies in the two countries maintain close contacts for intensifying cooperation in the areas of transport and infrastructure. Chinese businesses operating in this field have amassed rich international experience, they have sufficient available financial resources and numerous well-established practices regarding technology and management of infrastructure projects, which they could share. Currently Chinese companies demonstrate serious interest in the projects concerning the Black Sea Motorway and the tunnel under Shipka peak. The two countries are keen on expanding cooperation in agriculture and tourism. We hope that with the support of the governments of China and Bulgaria the companies in the two countries will reach joint arrangements as soon as possible and will contribute to the economic and social development of the two states.

What are the biggest challenges in the bilateral trade and economic relations?

In recent years, due to the attention allotted by the state leaders and the joint efforts of the two countries, Chinese-Bulgarian economic relations have developed steadily, trade exchange has been continuously on the rise, investment and cooperation projects have been consistently drafted and overall there have been excellent development prospects. Naturally, there still are numerous aspects in the trade and economic cooperation between China and Bulgaria on which we need to focus in our work: first and foremost, the business-to-business contacts between the two countries are not yet sufficiently numerous, there is no sufficiently thorough knowledge about the market conditions in the other country, many cooperation opportunities have not yet been fully tapped. Secondly, in the majority of cases Chinese and Bulgarian firms operate on their own, as “lone warriors” when developing their market in the other country, the benefits of scale and measure implementation have not been achieved, there is no purposeful strategic planning, resources are not yet fully pooled and utilized. Thirdly, regulatory measures and policies are not sufficiently stable: for example, the regulations in the area of renewable energy sources have been repeatedly amended, due to which businesses, including the Chinese ones, have experienced economic shocks of various degrees that have impacted inversely investment security and corporate confidence. We hope that via the new cooperation platform in the China – Central and Eastern Europe format the diverse cooperation mechanisms will be fully utilized, so that we would be able to realize out advantages, to raise the cooperation level and to contribute actively to the elevation of this bilateral business and economic cooperation to a new level.

Which are the most promising areas or still untapped potential in the bilateral trade and economic cooperation?

Currently the areas of bilateral trade and economic cooperation are broad, they cover communications, electronics, the automotive industry, the power sector, transport, ecology, agriculture and other spheres. We believe that the two countries have a huge cooperation potential in the fields of agriculture, power generation and infrastructure. For instance, there are unique natural features for agriculture in your country, while the demand for such products in the Chinese market is enormous, the cooperation between the two countries is mutually complementary and the potential in this respect is significant. Since last year the governments of the two countries have successively signed phytosanitary protocols for exports of maize and alfalfa for China and a number of other protocols for the export of farming products are being negotiated. These regulatory documents will pave the way for the export of quality Bulgarian agricultural products to China. As regards the infrastructure sector, in September last year Xi Jinping, the President of the People’s Republic of China, presented the initiative for building the “Silk Road Economic Belt” linking the big markets of Asia and Europe. The Balkan countries, including Bulgaria, are the South-Eastern gate of Europe, the enhancement of infrastructure establishment in the countries in the region is of paramount importance for the further development of the commercial and economic relations between China and the Central and East European countries. We hope that the competent institutions of the two countries and the companies in this field will maintain intensive contacts and will jointly seek forms of cooperation applicable to the Bulgarian conditions to promote the implementation of infrastructure projects.

How do people in China view Bulgaria and Bulgarians?

Even though Bulgaria and China are thousands of kilometers apart, separated by mountains and seas, Bulgaria is not unknown to people in China. First and foremost, there is deep-going traditional friendship between our countries. Bulgaria was the second country in the world that recognized and established diplomatic relations with new China. China will never forget that. Secondly, with the comprehensive development of the close relations the traditional friendship between the two nations acquires new content. The so-called “three treasures” of Bulgaria: rose oil, yoghourt and wine, are highly appreciated and very popular in China. Chinese People show interest in Bulgaria’s beautiful nature, in the country’s rich historical, cultural and artistic heritage. We expect that with the deepening of the contacts between the two countries in the areas of culture and tourism a growing number of Chinese people will be able to come to Bulgaria on excursions or for vacations, that they will have the opportunity to enjoy an even greater number of cultural and artistic performances and events of eminent Bulgarian authors and artists.

Nowadays several thousand Chinese people live permanently in Bulgaria and do business in various spheres; there are also over ten companies with Chinese investments and several scores of Chinese students undergoing education in Bulgaria. For them Bulgaria is a second homeland, they are actively integrated in the Bulgarian society, thus building a peculiar bridge for trading and economic cooperation and for cultural dialogue between the two countries. I hope that the Bulgarian institutions and society will continue to create a favourable climate for them, that they will provide further facilities regarding visa issuing conditions, residence or stay status, business, education, etc., so that they can indeed become a cooperation bridge and ambassadors of the friendship between the two countries.

08-10-2014 - Bulgaria progressed to 40th place in the ranking of economic freedomLINK

Bulgaria ranks 40th out of 152 countries included in the "Economic Freedom of the World: 2014 Annual Report" prepared by the Canadian Institute "Fraser" and disseminated to Bulgaria by the Institute for Market Economics. The report presents the picture in 2012 - the latest year for which official data are available for all countries.

Bulgaria’s result this year is 7.29 points from the maximum of 10, this is a slight increase compared to last year, when the country had 7.28 points and was ranked to 49th place.

Bulgaria ranks 21st among the EU countries and has the same result as Spain. Hong Kong again leads the ranking, followed by Singapore, New Zealand and Switzerland.

03-10-2014 - WITTE Automotive opened the new plant in BulgariaLINK

Mr. Rosen Plevneliev, President of Bulgaria together with Dr. Manfred Pueschel, Chairman of the Advisory Board of WITTE Automotive GmbH, opened officially a new production facility in Bulgaria.

“I am a president but I am also an engineer and I have to say that this plant is a very important achievement not only for Ruse but for Bulgaria”, President Plevneliev declared in his opening speech. Dr. Pueschel proudly praised: “On 10th of October 2013, we met here for the laying of the foundation stone. Today, only one year later, we are celebrating the official opening of the most modern plant of WITTE Automotive covering an area of 15,000 square meters and that inclusive the logistics infrastructure.”

The amount of investment will reach approx. 10 million euro till the end of the year 2015. WITTE as one of the leading producers of locking systems for the automotive industry supplies especially its customers from south-eastern Europe from the Bulgarian plant.

The Bulgarian plant started in May 2010 in rented industrial premises. Manufacturing began with three machines and six employees. Already after one year the number of employees in the factory reached 51 and in May 2012 the company doubled this number and welcomed its hundredth employee. The production with many new products increased the same way and the turnover exceeded 10 million EUR. According to the global growth strategy of the WITTE Group an increase in both the turnover and the number of employees is expected in 2014.

01-10-2014 - Bulgaria is the most preferred outsourcing destination in EuropeLINK

Bulgaria is the most preferred outsourcing destination in Europe. Our country is the only European country, which falls in top 10 in the world ranking of the most attractive destinations for outsourcing, done by the analysis company A.T. Kearney. Bulgaria is at the ninth position among 51 countries in the world and climbs up eight positions in the list since 2011, when the previous survey was done.

According to Stefan Bumov, chairperson of the Bulgarian Outsourcing Association, this was an important recognition of the efforts of Bulgaria's outsourcing industry and its contribution to the economy.

The leading positions in the A.T.Kearney ranking are taken by India, China and Malaysia.

The index takes into account 39 criteria in three categories – financial attractiveness, business environment and human resources.

29-09-2014 - Medina Med and Diana have invested BGN 5 million in a factoryLINK

The largest importers of tires in Bulgaria - Medina Med and Diana, open a factory for recycling of discarded tires Ekomediana Recycling in Stara Zagora. In its construction the owners have invested BGN 5 million.

Several raw materials are produced through recycling of tires - rubber granulate, metal and textiles, for which the company has already secured markets. The plant is built on a total area of 2200 sq m at the site of an abandoned factory of the former enterprise Agrobiochim, which is completely refurbished and modernized.

For the construction of new power the company has applied under OP Competitiveness and in particular with the 'Energy efficiency and green economy’ scheme. The approved project is for about BGN 4 million, 50% of which are self-financing.

17-09-2014 - BNB raiseаd the data for attracted foreign direct investments in 2012 and 2013LINK

Bulgarian National Bank (BNB) published revised data for the flow of foreign direct investments (FDI) in 2012 and 2013. For both years, the volume attracted investments has increased. In the revision of March 17, 2014 FDI inflow for 2013 amounts to 1 092.4 million euro and 1 070.3 million euro for 2012 respectively. In the latest revision from September 15, the data for the two years changed to 1141.7 million euros for 2012 and 1156.7 million euros for 2013 respectively. The growth of attracted investments in 2013 compared with the flow for 2012 is 1.3%.

In March 2015 BNB will make its annual revisions of FDI data for 2013 and 2014.

Bank revised data for the flow of foreign direct investment under the ECB Timetable for Exchange of Balance of Payments, International Investment Position and Reserve Assets Statistics within the European System of Central Banks. Adjustments usually result in increased volumes.

According to the BNB data for the inflow of foreign direct investment published on September 15, 2014, in July reinvested profit in January-July 2014 is estimated at 93.8 million euros. This is significantly higher than the reported 51 million euros for the same period of 2013. What must be kept in mind when analyzing such data is that currenty the data for 2013 and 2014 include only estimates of reinvested profit sector "Banks". The data for the "nonfinancial corporations" sector for 2013 will be published in the January 2015 report and the respective data for 2014 – in the January 2016 report.

The total volume of foreign investments in Bulgaria in July 2014 amounted to 74 million euros. According to the revised data for the same month of the previous year, the total volume is 246, 4 million euros. Only after data revision for July 2014 a comparison between the two months would be possible.

For the period from the beginning of the year until the end of July foreign investments amounted to 825.3 million euros or 2% of GDP, according to the Central bank data. This is 22 million euro more than the respective sums for the period from January to July 2013, if we compare the unrevised data. A few days ago, however, the Bank revised the amount of investment for the period January - July 2013. It increased to 1070.8 million euros.

The main part of the FDI this year is the so–called “Other capital”. In this category, the Bulgarian National Bank puts intercompany loans provided by foreign companies to their subsidiaries in Bulgaria. Since the beginning of the year the total volume is 623.5 million euros, which is with 31.1 million euros more than the previous month. For the period January-July 2013 investment in other capital were 164.1 million euro, according to unrevised BNB data.

Equity investments since the beginning of 2014 amount to 107.9 million euros compared with 560.4 million euros unrevised data for the same period last year.

The information of the BNB for FDI by industry is on a quarterly and annual basis. According to preliminary data for the period January - June 2014 the largest flow of FDI is in manufacturing (more than 295 million euros or 39.3 percent of the total flow for the period). In the second place is investment in "Real estate, renting and business activities" (with a share 25.9%), followed by "Transport, storage and communications" (with a share of 16.8%).

The Netherlands retained the first position among the countries investing in Bulgaria in 2014. For the period January - July 2014 the FDI inflows from there amounted to 368.4 million Euros.

The data show that the money which migrants send to their relatives in the country grows. In July the amount was 75.5 million euros, and in the same month of the previous year the amount was 74 million euros. For the first seven months of the year Bulgarians abroad have sent a total of 519.9 million euros to our country.

According to the preliminary data, the FDI of Bulgarians and companies abroad for the period January - July 2014 amounted to 195.3 million EUR in comparison to 198.2 million euros in January - July 2013. In July 2014 the FDI increased by 7.8 million euros.

12-09-2014 - Bulgaria’s export to the EU increased in the first half of 2014LINK

n the period January - June 2014 Bulgarian exports to the EU increased by 2.8% compared to the corresponding period of the previous year and amounted to 12.6 Billion BGN, according to data of the National Statistical Institute.

Main trade partners of Bulgaria were Germany, Italy, Romania, Greece, France and Belgium which accounted for 72.3% of the exports to the EU Member States.

In June 2014 the exports to the EU increased by 10.6% compared to the corresponding month of the previous year and amounted to 2.3 Billion BGN.

Bulgarian imports from the EU in the period January - June 2014 increased by 3.6% compared to the corresponding period of the previous year and added up to 14.9 Billion BGN at CIF prices. The largest amounts were reported for the goods imported from Germany, Italy, Romania, Greece and Spain.

In June 2014 the Bulgarian imports from the EU Member States increased by 3.1% compared to the corresponding month of the previous year and amounted to 2.6 Billion BGN at CIF prices.

12-09-2014 - Plovdiv expects BGN 7 million private investmentLINK

Plovdiv expects BGN 7 million private investment in implementing the strategy Plovdiv European Capital of Culture 2019, said the Deputy Mayor Stefan Stoyanov for Darik radio.

The sum is 10% of the total budget of the program, which is BGN 70 million. 60% of them ??are foreseen for cultural events and 40% for infrastructure. The municipality expects a decision of the Council of Ministers, with which the state will grant EUR 10 million for the development of the city as the European Capital of Culture.

11-09-2014 - IBA presented the advantages of Bulgaria as an investment destination in Xiamen, ChinaLINK

The advantages of Bulgaria as an investment destination presented Kostadin Djatev, Deputy Executive Director of the InvestBulgaria Agency, during the 18th International Forum on Trade and Investment in Xiamen, China, which takes place in the period September 7 - 11. The favorable investment climate in Bulgaria, its pivotal position for access to the EU market, low tax burden and other advantages were highlighted during the presentation of Bulgaria. Also specific investment projects were proposed.

The China International Forum for Trade and Investment, organized by the Ministry of Commerce of PRC, is held annually in September in Xiamen. This is the biggest business forum and the only event in China for promoting of investment and support of the investment flows, which has received approval from the Union of International Fairs (UFI). The initiative consists several parts: investment and trade exhibition, an international investment forum, a series of seminars on hot investment issues and exchange of investment projects.

This year, the program included a symposium marking the 30th anniversary of the Chinese area for national economic and technological development, workshop and meeting of the investment agencies of China and the countries of Central and Eastern Europe.

The China International Forum on Trade and Investment in Xiamen not only presents the investment climate, policies, projects and corporate products in all Chinese provinces, autonomous regions and municipalities in China, but also attracts the interest of agencies to promote investment in more than 40 countries and regions. The business gets optimal opportunity to become acquainted with the investment climate in China and other countries and has access to a wide range of investment projects and business partners.

This year, Malaysia was designated as an honorary guest at the event to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations with China.

05-09-2014 - The competitive advantages of Bulgaria as an investment destination were presented to Turkish entrepreneurs in PlovdivLINK

The business climate in Bulgaria and the investment opportunities in the tourism, machine building, outsourcing, business processes, food and agriculture industry and healthcare were presented by Georgi Alipiev, acting director "Sectoral Investment Services" in Invest Bulgaria Agency at a workshop of the Bulgarian business and the Association of Turkish Industrialists and Entrepreneurs of the Balkan countries' “BALKANSIAD”.

The forum was held on the 4th September 2014 in “Hotel Novotel Plovdiv" under the patronage of the Turkish commercial attach? in Plovdiv Baris Yenicheri. It was organized by the "Enterprise" magazine.

Honored guests at the event were the regional governor of the Shoumen district, Vencislav Venkov and deputy regional governor of the Bursa region. The forum was attended by Aytug Onur, chairman of "BALKANSIAD", deputy chairman of the Turkish-Bulgarian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Timur Halilov, Vasaf Bilginler, chairman of the Bulgarian-Turkish business association "BULTIS" in Plovdiv, Fikret Ince, chairman of the Northeast Bulgarian-Turkish Chamber of Commerce and over 40 businessmen and industrialists of the city of Bursa, Turkey.

Mr. Alipiev focused on the main advantages that our country has as an investment destination: a stable macro-economic environment, low tax burden, currency board and a well-educated and highly skilled workforce.

“Sienit Holding” presented “Trakia” Economic Zone as an opportunity for a number of Bulgarian and foreign investors, and entrepreneurs to develop and expand their manufacturing operations.

The forum was an excellent opportunity for many bilateral meetings as well as for planning future partnerships and joint initiatives.

01-09-2014 - Second meeting between the heads of local authorities from China and CEE 16 +1LINK

On 28 and 29 August 2014 was held the second meeting between the heads of local authorities from China and the 16 countries from Central and Eastern Europe (CEE). The event took place in Prague, Czech Republic. The main theme of the meeting was "Regional cooperation - an important driver of the cooperation 16 + 1”. Among the official guests were Czech and Chinese government representatives and local authorities from the 16 CEE countries and representatives of 15 municipalities in China. The meeting was opened with a speech by Bohuslav Sobotka - Prime Minister of the Czech Republic, and ZHANG Gaoli - Deputy Prime Minister of China.

In the program of the event laid four panel discussions on various topics: 1) Environmental protection and development of "green technologies”; 2) Development of the western part of the People's Republic of China and its cooperation with the countries of Central and Eastern Europe; 3) Entry of Chinese companies on the markets of Central and Eastern Europe; 4) Cooperation in the field of education, culture and tourism. After the discussions some time was set out for bilateral negotiations between the participants of the event.

An Investment Forum with business representatives from China and the CEE countries took place along with the meeting of the local leaders. On August 28 were held four discussions: 1) Business and mutual investment; 2) Tourism, visa policy and air links; 3) Financial Sector; 4) Transport and Aviation. The next day were carried out four more panels: 1) Industry, engineering, energy and infrastructure; 2) Information technology and telecommunications; 3) Healthcare; 4) Science, R & D and new technologies.

InvestBulgaria Agency (IBA) was presented by Kostadin Djatev, Deputy Executive Director. He made a presentation in the panel "Tourism, visa policy and air links" focusing on opportunities for the development of different types of tourism in Bulgaria and the implementation of the spa and balneological projects. Mr. Djatev informed the attendees about the new opportunity to make direct flights from Sofia to New York and Chicago, which is expected to be available in the spring of 2015.

Kostadin Djatev presented visa regime for citizens of the People's Republic of China. Holders of valid Schengen visas and residence cards issued by Member States to the Schengen Agreement and also the holders of valid visas and residence cards in Romania, Croatia and Cyprus are exempt from the obligation of obtaining Bulgarian ones as well. The statutory deadlines for processing visa applications are shortened from 15 to 7 days, and in some cases 2-3 days. When applying for a tourist visa, the travel applications are processed within 3-4 days. Recent amendments to the Law on Foreigners in the Republic of Bulgaria and its implementing rules provide additional opportunities for issuing multiple-entry and long-stay visas for investors and businessmen.

01-09-2014 - Second meeting between the heads of local authorities from China and CEE 16 +1LINK

On 28 and 29 August 2014 was held the second meeting between the heads of local authorities from China and the 16 countries from Central and Eastern Europe (CEE). The event took place in Prague, Czech Republic. The main theme of the meeting was "Regional cooperation - an important driver of the cooperation 16 + 1”. Among the official guests were Czech and Chinese government representatives and local authorities from the 16 CEE countries and representatives of 15 municipalities in China. The meeting was opened with a speech by Bohuslav Sobotka - Prime Minister of the Czech Republic, and ZHANG Gaoli - Deputy Prime Minister of China.

In the program of the event laid four panel discussions on various topics: 1) Environmental protection and development of "green technologies”; 2) Development of the western part of the People's Republic of China and its cooperation with the countries of Central and Eastern Europe; 3) Entry of Chinese companies on the markets of Central and Eastern Europe; 4) Cooperation in the field of education, culture and tourism. After the discussions some time was set out for bilateral negotiations between the participants of the event.

An Investment Forum with business representatives from China and the CEE countries took place along with the meeting of the local leaders. On August 28 were held four discussions: 1) Business and mutual investment; 2) Tourism, visa policy and air links; 3) Financial Sector; 4) Transport and Aviation. The next day were carried out four more panels: 1) Industry, engineering, energy and infrastructure; 2) Information technology and telecommunications; 3) Healthcare; 4) Science, R & D and new technologies.

InvestBulgaria Agency (IBA) was presented by Kostadin Djatev, Deputy Executive Director. He made a presentation in the panel "Tourism, visa policy and air links" focusing on opportunities for the development of different types of tourism in Bulgaria and the implementation of the spa and balneological projects. Mr. Djatev informed the attendees about the new opportunity to make direct flights from Sofia to New York and Chicago, which is expected to be available in the spring of 2015.

Kostadin Djatev presented visa regime for citizens of the People's Republic of China. Holders of valid Schengen visas and residence cards issued by Member States to the Schengen Agreement and also the holders of valid visas and residence cards in Romania, Croatia and Cyprus are exempt from the obligation of obtaining Bulgarian ones as well. The statutory deadlines for processing visa applications are shortened from 15 to 7 days, and in some cases 2-3 days. When applying for a tourist visa, the travel applications are processed within 3-4 days. Recent amendments to the Law on Foreigners in the Republic of Bulgaria and its implementing rules provide additional opportunities for issuing multiple-entry and long-stay visas for investors and businessmen.

25-08-2014 - EUR 30 million boost cooperation between Bulgaria and TurkeyLINK

Nearly EUR 30 million is to be allotted under the Bulgaria-Turkey cross-border cooperation program in the new programming period 2014-2020. Projects in Haskovo, Yambol and Burgas districts are to receive financing under this programme.

Turkey has come up with the proposal that part of the financial resource of the programme can be used to fulfill the targets of the four-year agreement between Bulgaria and Turkey aimed at preserving and socializing the cultural and historical heritage in the trans-border regions.

The programme covers a territory of 29,000 square kilometers on both sides of the border and a population of 1.5 million people.

05-08-2014 - Oman Fund 'Expected to Make Proposal about KTB Soon' - Bank OwnerLINK

CorpBank major shareholder Tsvetan Vasilev has announced that a consortium of investors led by a state fund of the Sultanate of Oman is to present an offer how to help the bank.

Vasilev, whose Corporate Commercial Bank (KTB) was placed under special supervision by Bulgaria's central bank BNB on June 20, wrote in his personal blog that he needed customers and employees' support for the plan which the State General Reserve Fund (SGRF) of Oman is expected to reveal.

He described developments at the bank, which BNB is planning to deprive of license (apart from nationalizing its subsidiary Credit Agricole Bulgaria) due to serious violations found by independent auditors, as a plot created against him and KTB which, in his words, was aided "by the entire state machine".

SGRF declared in mid-July it was drafting a plan to save KTB which could be ready in three months, but did not necessarily involve boosting its own share (currently 30%) at the troubled bank. The outgoing Bulgarian government had earlier promised it would give investors the opportunity to intervene before seeking "state" options.

A bank run in June forced Bulgaria's fourth-largest financial company to request conservatorship from BNB on its own.

Vasilev has since then argued KTB fell victim to "malicious rumors" fomented by politicians and key state institutions including the Prosecutor's Office.

The attack on his bank followed a reported rift between Vasilev and controversial Movement for Rights and Freedoms (DPS) lawmaker Delyan Peevski, whose appointment as state security head last June opened the floodgates of months-long protests.

Their alliance was considered to be behind a number of key Bulgarian enterprises and also behind a media empire formally controlled by Peevski's mother, Irena Krasteva.

05-08-2014 - Bulgaria-EC Partnership Agreement to be Signed on ThursdayLINK

Bulgaria's Partnership Agreement with the European Commission is to be signed by the end of the week, most probably on Thursday.

The document was adopted by the outgoing government of Prime Minister Plamen Oresharski in end-June.

It sets the priorities in the absorption of funds from the EU structural and investment funds by 2020.

In the autumn of 2014, the EC is to approve the new operational programs, thereby allowing Bulgaria to start using the money allocated under them in the new EU budget, according to reports of the Bulgarian National Radio.

The EC also reported progress in its attempts to renew trilateral dialogue with Russia and Ukraine on gas supplies.

Meanwhile, a bilateral meeting on the topic between EU Energy Commissioner Gunther Oettinger and Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak was confirmed.

Marlene Holzner, Spokesperson for the EU Energy Commissioner, declared that the meeting would take place at the end of August in Moscow and it would feature discussions on the opportunities for continuing dialogue in a trilateral format.

05-08-2014 - Sofia-Plovdiv Railway Stretch to Be ReconstructedLINK

The railroad connecting Bulgaria's capital Sofia and the second-largest city Plovdiv will enable trains to travel at 160 km/h, a national daily reports.

Milcho Lambrev, who heads the National Railway Infrastructure Company, also told Monitor that tracks between Sofia and the towns of Septemvri and Dragoman are also to undergo repairs.

About BGN 700 M have been set aside for the planned works, but reconstruction projects are yet to be drafted and the process is likely to take seven or eight years, Lambrev believes.

31-07-2014 - Bulgaria's Pomorie 'Could Have' Dubai-Style Fake IslandsLINK

Entrepreneurs from Qatar, Abu Dhabi, China and South Korea are considering opportunities to build artificial islands near the seaside town of Pomorie, according to media reports.

The landscape in the region is "very favorable", with a "shallow beach" that is just 5 meters deep, and this would make it easy to place islands there, Kamen Shipkov, an architect from Pomorie, was quoted by the daily Monitor as saying.

Shipkov's own blueprints include three islands off the coast, with a 260-meter bridge to connect them with the mainland.

Facilities like a dolphinarium, swimming pools, water parks could be built on one of them, while the second could host a casino and the third could have five- or seven-star hotels. A twenty or thirty-story hotel like the one at Barcelona's port, which stands in open sea could also be erected, Shipkov believes.

31-07-2014 - Bulgaria ranks fourth place in the world in low taxes for foreignersLINK

Bulgaria is fourth in the world ranking of destinations with the lowest taxes for foreigners, published by the "Daily Mail".

Bradley Hekford, company specializing in international expatriation, compiled the top ten countries with low tax burden based on criteria such as quality of life, legal and physical security, quality of economic investment, accessibility of the site and opportunities for recreation. Bulgaria is placed at fourth place in the ranking for lowest tax burden in Europe with 10% tax on personal income. Europeans don't have to invest in order to gain citizenship, but non-Europeans must be willing to invest 400,000 pounds in government bonds, marked by Bradley Hekford.

First in the list are placed Bahamas who are close to the U.S.A. and enjoy the splendid surroundings and political stability. The country, which consists of over 700 small islands, offers an excellent standard of living and 0% tax on personal income.

28-07-2014 - At the end of 2015, Plovdiv will have a modern intermodal terminalLINK

By November this year will be ready the technical design of the intermodal terminal in the South Central region, financed by the Operational Programme "Transport". Contractor is "National Company Railway Infrastructure." The engineering contract was signed on May 23, 2014 with "Trace Group Hold" PLC and is for 8570 541.45 lev without VAT. The implementation includes five months to design and 12 months for construction. The technical design of the terminal with working drawings and details in accordance with the approved preliminary design, Detailed urban plan and technical specifications of the assignor shall be prepared by "Ingconsult" Ltd with Chief architect Konstantin Kossev, reported by the contractor.

It is expected about 70 people to be involved in its construction and 25 new jobs will be found when the terminal starts functioning. Supervision will be provided by "Rubicon-Test" as the value of the contract is 448 950 lev without VAT. An appeal delays the selection of a project-manager consultant.

The main objective of the investment project is to build a terminal for intermodal transport near railway station Kableshkov, which is part of Plovdiv railway junction. It is located on the main railway line Sofia - Plovdiv. The landing itself is located on the north side of the station in the village of Zlatitrap, Rodopi Municipality. The place where the terminal will be built, has a strategic importance as it passes through three European corridors. Within the "Technical assistance for construction of an intermodal terminal in the South Central region - Plovdiv" under the TEN-T (2009-20011) the consultant - union "NET Engineering - Transgeo" prepared a financial and economic analysis of the cost and benefits (CBA), preliminary design, Detailed urban plan and strategy for public-private partnership (PPP) for the operation and maintenance of the site. In 2011, by the CoM "Intermodal Terminal in South-Central Planning Region of Bulgaria - Plovdiv" was declared a site of national importance.

The project
It is envisaged over an area 71 450 sq.m. to be built: terminal area for loading and unloading of containers from wagon to car and back, ground storage for containers and area for damaged containers and equipment, special spaces for refrigerated cargoes units, administrative customer service, customs control building, customs warehouse, parking for trucks, cars.
In terms of railway track will be designed and built second siding, which will be the primary loading and unloadeding rut with a total useful length of 645 m. It will be directly connected to a slack rut by an arrow. Within the twinning project "Modernization of the railway station in September - Plovdiv - part of the Trans-European Transport Network," is foreseen the design and implementation of the seventh receiver-starting track and slack rut as well as the delivery and input of arrows № 10, 22, 24 and 19.

Management and maintenance
For the management and maintenance of the intermodal terminal will be selected private operator. The concession procedure is expected to be announced until early next year, after the preparation of preconcession analysis. The operator will supply and install the necessary equipment (including mobile cranes), which will greatly speed up the starting of the terminal.

01-07-2014 - Chinese Consortium to Invest BGN 20 M in Bulgaria's KarlovoLINK

A Chinese venture is planning to invest in production of probiotics and synbiotics in the Bulgarian town of Karlovo, municipal officials have revealed.

Local authorities signed on June 6 a preliminary agreement with the consortium, and details are due to be clarified later this month, Karlovo Municipal Council Chairman Stoyo Karagenski was quoted by Dariknews.bg as saying.

The deal was struck in the presence of Chinese Embassy representatives, Karagenski added.

He explained some months ago the businessmen tested in Chinese hospitals some probiotics made in Bulgaria and were satisfied with the results.

In his words, more Chinese investment into tourism and luxury properties is in sight, with the Municipality already in talks with other firms from the world's second-largest economy.

30-06-2014 - Trisa Bulgaria OOD awarded a Class A Investment CertificateLINK

Trisa Bulgaria OOD received a certificate for Class A investment for the construction of a new logistic centre close to the town of Elin Pelin, Sofia District. The amount of the investment is more than BGN 6 mln. and 30 work places are expected to be opened.

The initial built-up area of the complex will be 3,000 sq. m. and it will be erected on a plot owned by Trisa with an area of 27,000 sq. m.

Through this investment the company aims at expanding its market outreach in the Eastern European countries, Russia and the former soviet states. Individual manufacturing activities will be performed at the site after the completion of the construction project. With the establishment of the logistic centre near Elin Pelin, the Swiss company group TRISA HOLDING AG implements another stage of its long-term partnership in Bulgaria.

26-06-2014 - Business forum “Business and investment between Bulgaria and Turkey” was held in IstanbulLINK

Bulgarian business delegation headed by Mr. Tsvetan Simeonov, President of the Bulgarian Chamber of Commerce and Industry and Co-President of the Bulgarian-Turkish Business Council, and Mr. Yancho Yanev, Chairman of Haskovo Chamber of Commerce and Industry, visited Istanbul.

The representatives of the Bulgarian business delegation met with the Board of Directors of the Turkish-Bulgarian Business Council with DEIK (Foreign Economic Relations Board of Turkey), and with representatives of the Edirne Chamber of Commerce and Industry, and discussed the opportunities of collaboration in economy, investments, trade, facilitation of customs and other administrative proceedings, women entrepreneurship and wine production. For the first time conversations were extended to topics related to culture.

Mr. Yalcin Egemen, Co-President of the Turkish-Bulgarian Business Council, opened the business forum which was attended by more than 30 Turkish entrepreneurs, and outlined the main areas of cooperation between DEIK and BCCI, bilateral relations between Bulgaria and Turkey, sectors of mutual interest with potential for development – agriculture and food industry. Yalcin Egemen stressed that the main problem for both the countries is the road infrastructure.

Tsvetan Simeonov presented the Chamber’s cooperation with business organisations from Turkey at international and regional level, as well as the new developments in the activities of the BCCI – mainly in the processes digitization, the Chamber’s mobile application, barcodes, Arbitration Court and others. He noted that the partnership between BCCI and DEIK will go further with new initiatives.

Stefan Arnaudov from the Bulgarian Trade and Economic Affairs Service in Istanbul said that visa regime for the Turkish citizens is the main problem, but it’s been planned to facilitate visa issuing procedures and provide possible travel package services.

Bulgaria’s advantages as an attractive location for business and investment were presented to the participants of the forum.

Bulgarian companies were given the opportunity to meet with potential partners from sectors of financing, textiles, law and consultancy, freight elevators, production of tanks and containers.

18-06-2014 - Ventzislav Kaymakanov visited TurkeyLINK

In order to promote mutual investments and economic relations between Bulgaria and Turkey in April the Governor of Plovdiv was invited by the Office of Trade and Economic Affairs / at STEVE / at the Consulate General of the Republic of Bulgaria in Istanbul, Turkey. The invitation foresees a thematic conference at STEVE - to present the districts of Plovdiv and Burgas into a format: governor, mayors, representatives of companies with business opportunities. The event was held within two days in two different cities - Istanbul and Kocaeli, Izmit.

On the first day of the conference in Istanbul, the governor presented the plans for economic development, specific preconditions, regional programs and infrastructure projects, infrastructure characteristics, analysis of the labor market and business development opportunities of Plovdiv. Ventzislav Kaymakanov highlighted the infrastructure projects, investment opportunities in the agricultural sector, industrial zones, Plovdiv airport and the project "Intermodal Terminal" Zlatitrap. The presentations were made by the mayors of two municipalities in Parvomai and Maritsa to which was requested preliminary interest from Turkish businessmen. The mayors included in the group - Angel Papazoff and Dimitar Ivanov acquainted the audience with the advantages of the municipalities that govern, municipal development plans and availability of labor. Huge interest made the presentation of Trakiya economic zone. The delegation included representatives of business in those municipalities and later in individual meetings with more than 20 Turkish companies, were able to establish contacts with Turkish businessmen and visit leading Turkish companies. The visit continued with a meeting with the Mayor of Istanbul - Kadir Topbas, who introduced his guests with major infrastructure projects implemented in Istanbul. During the visit the Bulgarian delegation met with representatives of the Council for International Economic Relations of Istanbul (DEIK), deputy governor of Istanbul and Kocaeli.

In Kocaeli, Izmit the presentation of Plovdiv made Ivanka Petkova, Deputy District Governor of Plovdiv region. Along with Dobrina Prodanova - Chairman of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry Plovdiv, the mayors of Purvomai and Maritza, Faik Kurkmaz -representative of Thrace Economic Zone in the second day of the forum the delegation visited a Turkish yacht factory, Chamber of Commerce-Izmit and held numerous meetings with business representatives in Kocaeli.

17-06-2014 - Bulgaria's Business Environment Ranks 46th WorldwideLINK

Bulgaria ranks 46th in the world in terms of business environment for the period 2014-2018, surpassing Romania and Italy, according to the Economist Intelligence Unit.

Bulgaria has moved one spot ahead compared to the previous ranking for the period 2009-2013, BGNES reports.

Turkey ranks 44th, Romania, Greece and Serbia lag behind Bulgaria, at the 47th, 62nd and 65th place, respectively.

Singapore remains the best country for investment in the world, Switzerland and Hong Kong also keep respectively the second and the third place. Canada, Australia, Sweden, New Zealand, Finland, Denmark and Norway round out the top 10 ranking.

Despite the potential of the rapidly developing markets and the developed economies in North America, Europe and Asia are still the best places to do business, the ranking of the Economist Intelligence Unit showed.

11-06-2014 - Bulgaria: China’s gateway to the EULINK

Until 11 June more than twenty Bulgarian companies in the food and wine sector, together with producers of cosmetics, essential oils and electronics, are taking part in an exhibition of products from Central and Eastern Europe in the Chinese city of Ningpo. According to the Bulgarian Minister for the Economy, Dragomir Stoynev, Bulgarian exports to China have increased by twenty per cent over the past few months. Gao Hucheng, China’s Minister for Commerce, has confirmed that Bulgaria remains his country’s strategic partner in Central and Eastern Europe. But what’s in it for Bulgaria and the Asiatic republic when the Chinese think in a decidedly global dimension? Comments from Ivo Todorov, President of the Bulgarian Exporters Association:

Is it true that exports to China have increased over the past few months?

“What we can see is a long-term trend in Bulgarian-Chinese relations with steady growth over the past three years or so, so yes, things are moving. But it’s too early to get over-excited about it yet.”

How can Bulgarian businesses cope with the harsh competition over there? What’s important for them?

“Bulgarian businesses rely on their own competitiveness. Slowly but surely they’re entering the international arena and it’s quite normal for them to look for new markets. Particularly right now when it’s not business as usual in our main markets like Ukraine and Turkey, and that means that companies are looking for alternative outlets on new markets.”

What sort of things are we exporting?

“Right now we can’t say that any particular industry has a strong foothold on the Chinese market, which is why I wouldn’t say that there’s going to be a boom in business relations between Bulgaria and China. We export different Bulgarian foods like cheese and milk. We’re also trialling exports of investment goods like industrial machines and equipment. But for me the situation is currently too unstable to be able to say that things are really on the up. Just now it’s a case of seeing how Bulgarian products fare on the Chinese market.”

We know that the Chinese are very keen to invest in Central and Eastern Europe and in Bulgaria. They’ve set aside 10 billion US dollars for the region.

“The Chinese want to explore opportunities for investing here because they see Bulgaria as an interesting location at the gateway to the EU. China’s Export-Import Bank has a lot of money that it’s looking to invest. Right now they’re looking at investment opportunities. They’re not so interested in importing Bulgarian products; it’s more a question of investing in the European Union.”

Could it be that marketing Bulgarian products in China is a gesture towards us and allowing Chinese investors to get a foothold in Bulgaria and the surrounding region? Because “Made in the EU” opens doors around the world while “Made in China” has a more limited appeal? Are they making eyes at us?

“Of course they are, but we shouldn’t be afraid. For one thing, over the past three years there has been a gradual reduction in foreign direct investments in Bulgaria, which are important for the country’s GDP. So attracting more investments to Bulgaria is a good thing for the country, and China is a major foreign investor. Chinese companies have taken their first steps here with some medium-sized investments which are already up and running. They have experience working in Bulgaria and I think they’ll continue to invest more here. But the direct answer is yes: they are making eyes at us.”

English: Christopher Pavis

09-06-2014 - Italy Outpaced China by Exports to Bulgaria – UniCredit Bulbank COOLINK

Italy's exports to Bulgaria are three times the Chinese exports to the country, according to Andrea Casini, Chief Operating Officer of UniCredit Bulbank.

Speaking Monday at the conference "Bulgaria and Italy: We Build Together" organized by Confindustria Bulgaria, he noted that Italy was Bulgaria's third biggest partner after Germany and Russia.

Exports of Italian companies to Bulgaria in 2013 amounted to EUR 1.9 B, while China's exports to Bulgaria stood at EUR 648 M in 2013, according to reports of UniCredit Bulbank, as cited by dnevnik.bg.

Italian businesses exported to Bulgaria mostly textile and leather goods, a range of machines and equipment, consumer goods, metals and construction materials.

Italy also ranked among the biggest investors in Bulgaria with nearly EUR 2 B in foreign direct investment for 2013.

The banking and insurance sector reported investments of EUR 600 M in 2013, while the energy and the textile sectors registered investments of EUR 300 M each, according to an analysis of Confindustria Bulgaria.

"The sector of infrastructure is crucial for the Bulgarian economy and it is expected to change substantially over the next few years," said Casini, as cited by the press office of the bank.

He also noted that the big niche in the sector was due to the need to improve the transport, communication and energy infrastructure of the country and the opportunity to use EU funding.

Opportunities for energy investments in Bulgaria, including biomass projects, were presented to representatives of Italian business.

The real estate market in Bulgaria was also cited a sphere of interest for Italian companies due to the improvement in investors' attitudes, the stable levels of rents and the lower prices of property and maintenance costs of the buildings.

06-06-2014 - "Litex Motors" will invest 70 million euros in its plantLINK

"Litex Motors" - Bulgarian car manufacturer of the Chinese brand "Great Wall", will invest in its plant in Lovech about 70 million euros in new halls for welding, metalworking and painting. The entire production process should be completed in 4 years period in the village Bahovitsa, near Lovech. At present, the enterprise mainly assembled vehicles, chassis and other components are supplied from China.

Construction of the new plants should begin in late 2015, and the annual capacity of each of the halls will be 50 thousand cars. So is the maximum capacity of the whole plant at the moment which can be increased to 70 thousand cars.

Source: www.capital.bg

04-06-2014 - New hit for traders: Hire warehouse near highway TrakiaLINK

Strong demand for warehouses in Plovdiv area reported by "Galaxy Property Group", said the investment company. Formed near Trakia highway industrial areas have become the center of attraction of many companies in the field of mechanical engineering, automation, logistics and production.

In turn, the development of industry increasing the demand for suitable storage facilities.

To meet the requirements and the demand in this segment Galaxy Property Group leases warehouses in villages Benkovski and Stryama. Warehouse Stryama is available 8 km from the Trakia highway and 15 km from Plovdiv. The area of ??the warehouse Stryama is 33, 000 square meters and the warehouse is 14,000 square meters There are built 30 warehouses capable of merging.

The base in Benkovski is located next to the Trakia Motorway and 7 km from Plovdiv. The plot area is 18,000 m2 total area is 8500 square meters warehouses with the possibility of merging. There are a total of 20 built warehouse. The key location of bases makes them preferable for companies in the region.

Plovdiv has emerged as the most attractive place for investments in Bulgaria for the development of industrial parks and concentration of industry leading export companies. There are the largest in the country logistics centers and industrial parks. Global companies are choosing to invest in the region of Plovdiv, because there are optimal combination of quality infrastructure, lower operating costs better skilled workforce.

31-05-2014 - Huawei interested in developing the economic zone in Bulgaria’s PlovdivLINK

Plovdiv. Chinese technological giant Huawei is interested in taking part in the technological renovation of Trakia Economic Zone, comprising of the six industrial zones surrounding Bulgaria’s second biggest city of Plovdiv, Bulgarian Capital Daily newspaper writes.
The envisaged projects regard the establishment of an intelligent transportation system between residential areas and plants, the improvement of communication between companies and their inclusion in a system for resource sharing and energy efficiency, as well as setting up data centres.
This would attract even more investors to the zone.
Sienit Holding and Huawei signed a memorandum for cooperation days ago during a Bulgarian-Chinese business forum in Plovdiv.

30-05-2014 - Bulgaria Best Balkan Country to Invest in, Foreign Policy MagazineLINK

Bulgaria ranks 28th in the Foreign Policy Magazine's "Baseline Profitability Index", measuring countries' attractiveness for foreign investors.

Among the countries of the Balkan peninsula, Bulgaria is the highest ranked. Right behind, in 29th place, is ranked Macedonia. Romania is 43rd, Albania 53rd, Serbia 55th, Slovenia 74th, Turkey 79th, Croatia 90th, and Greece 101st.

Bulgaria keeps its position unchanged compared to 2013.

The BPI measures countries based on rates of return, political stability, corruption, investor protection, and exchange rates

The top 3 countries in the ranking remain unchanged from last year (Botswana, Hong Kong, Taiwan). The highest-ranked EU country is Poland, in 14th place.

29-05-2014 - Enhancing the cooperation between the BCCI and the Embassy of Turkey – joint efforts to support businessLINK

H.E. Mr. S?leyman G?k?e, Ambassador of the Republic of Turkey to Bulgaria, visited the BCCI and had talks with President Tsvetan Simeonov.

They discussed topics related to developing and enhancing the bilateral trade and economic relations.

Ambassador G?k?e shared information on the certain difficulties that Turkish investors in Bulgaria encounter with, and outlined the possible steps in overcoming them in the field of infrastructure and the work of administration. Many efforts are to be made towards improving the infrastructure of the border regions, and intensifying the business information exchange between the government institutions of the two countries.

Another subject to discussion was the development of the gas interconnection Bulgaria – Turkey and its importance for the energy security, diversification of sources and stability of prices of the gas supplies to Bulgaria.

The need of further enhancement of the cooperation between the BCCI and the Embassy of Turkey was unanimously emphasized towards joint endeavors to promote businesses in the two neighboring countries.

23-05-2014 - Construction of Intermodal Terminal in Bulgaria's Plovdiv Kicks OffLINK

Petar Kirov, Deputy Transport Minister, has claimed that road and railway projects must not be opposed because both sectors are equally important to Bulgaria's development.

Speaking Friday at the signing ceremony for the contracts for the construction and supervision of the project for an intermodal terminal in Plovdiv, Kirov suggested that the scheme would serve as a sort of a bridge between the different types of transport which would contribute to the increased efficiency of processing cargo passing through Bulgaria.

"The place where the intermodal terminal will be built is of strategic importance because two European corridors pass through it," he noted, according to reports of money.bg.

He said that the contract for the construction works provided for a 5-month designing period and a 12-month period for construction works.

"At the end of 2015, Bulgaria will have a modern intermodal terminal," he added.

The contract for the intermodal terminal is worth BGN 8 570541,45, VAT excluded.

The construction works are to be conducted by Trace Group Hold AD.

The intermodal terminal is to be built at the Todor Kableshkov railway station on an area of 71 450 square meters.

70 workers are to take part in the construction works and 25 jobs are to be created once the intermodal terminal starts functioning.

Friday's contract signing ceremony was also attended by Milcho Lambrev, CEO of the National Railway Infrastructure Company, and Hristo Aleksiev, Deputy CEO of the company.

13-05-2014 - PLAMEN ORESHARSKI: WE STRIVE TO BE A BRIDGE FOR THE CHINESE INDUSTRY IN EUROPELINK

Bulgaria bids to host an agricenter of China and 16 Central and Eastern European countries

“Bulgaria and China have historically good and friendly contacts. Both sides can benefit from mutual cooperation and we are working in this direction”, Prime Minister Oresharski said during his meeting in the Council of Ministers with Ms. Sun Chunlan, Secretary of the Chinese Communist Party in the city of Tianjin and permanent member of the Politburo of the CCP. Prime Minister Oresharski and Ms. Sun Chunlan agreed that there was great potential for cooperation between the two countries in areas such as infrastructure, industry, agriculture and tourism. Mr. Oresharski emphasized the importance of attracting Chinese companies to operate and invest in Bulgaria . “We strive to be a bridge for the Chinese industry in Europe”, the Prime Minister said. He announced Bulgaria’s hosting bid in conjunction with a project to build an agricenter of China and 16 Central and Eastern European countries.

Ms. Sun Chunlan stressed that for China, Bulgaria was a key partner in the EU. She emphasized cooperation with countries of Central and Eastern Europe. She pointed out that Tianjin is the largest port city in North China with the ambition to become an international hub port and develop high technology. “Your support and assistance will boost economic cooperation between Bulgaria and China”, Ms. Sun Chunlan told Prime Minister Oresharski . She also noted the traditionally friendly relations between the two countries and gave Mr. Oresharski Chinese Prime Minister Li Keqiang’s regards. “Prime Minister Li Keqiang is welcome in Bulgaria when he plans a visit to the region”, Prime Minister Oresharski pointed out.

10-05-2014 - VMZ Sopot will assemble Chinese tractorsLINK

Chinese manufacturers of agricultural machinery are interested to partner with "Vazovski machine factories" (VMZ) in Sopot, where to assemble machines.
It was agreed during the visit of the Minister of Agriculture and Food - Dimitar Grekov in China, writes farmer.bg, citing information from the MAF.

Minister Grekov and the chairman of the board of directors of VMZ Sopot Manol Manolov met with representatives of the company LAVOL, which is the main producer of agricultural and construction machinery in China.

It is agreed by the end of May this year the Chinese businessmen to visit Bulgaria and get acquainted with the conditions offered by the factory.

In his meetings Grekov was negotiating Bulgaria to become a host of the 9th Agroforum of the countries of Central and Eastern Europe and China.

Traditionally, this forum is held every autumn in China's Anhui Province and gathers the parties of the "16 + China."

For the first time at the meeting of the Prime Ministers in Bucharest in November last year it was decided to hold the event outside of China. Over one year a host will be each one of the 16 countries from the Initiative.

Also was discussed the construction of a center for cooperation in agriculture, which the Chinese government wants to create in one of the Central and Eastern European countries.

During the visit were discussed and the opportunities for export of Bulgarian agricultural production, as well as new investments in Bulgaria. Minister of Agriculture and Food invited the leading Chinese companies to visit the country and meet with Bulgarian manufacturers of cereals and other oilseeds.

07-05-2014 - Turkish hoteliers will invest millions in BulgariaLINK

One of the biggest Turkish hotel chains "Alkochlar" will invist thousands of euro in the tourism in Bulgaria over the next years. The first investment of the businessmen from our southern neighbor is renting for years the four star "Grand Hotel Murgavetz" in Pamporovo. The building will remain the property of the chain "Sharolopov Hotels". We believe that over the next 10 years, Bulgaria will be one of the biggest tourist hits on the Balkans, so over the next three years we will invest here, said the Turkish owner of the chain - 66 -year-old Ender Alkochlar.

We are looking for other hotels in which to invest - in the winter resorts Bansko and Borovets, at sea - in Sunny Beach region, explained Alkochlar. Together with our partners we foresee tour and charter flights to Sofia, Burgas and Plovdiv, he explained. The main tourists who we are counting on are Turkish, Russian, Belarusian and Azerbaijan citizens, said the investor. According to Alkochlar in our country will come more Turkish tourists if the visa regime between the two countries is facilitated. The turkish chain manage hotels in the seaside resorts of our south neighbors in Kusadasi, Bodrum and Cesme and Turkey's most popular ski resort Uluda - one of the most famous places in the world Istanbul.

Source: www.paper.standartnews.com

26-04-2014 - Minister Danail Papazov inspects the construction works along the railway section Septemvri-PlovdivLINK

The modernization of the railway station in Pazardjik will be completed by 15 September 2014, said the contractors of the project during the inspection of the site carried out by Minister of Transport, Information Technology and Communications Danail Papazov. Besides the project for rehabilitation of the station the three sections of the project for modernization of the railway line Septemvri-Plovdiv were also inspected. Currently there are ongoing works on these projects and the construction schedule is being observed.

Under LOT 1 (Spetemvri-Pazardjik) of the project “Modernization of the railway section Septemvri-Plovdiv – part of the Trans-European railway network” a temporary railway line between the stations of Septemvri and Zvanichevo and a bridge at the 106+700 km. At the moment there are dismantling works carried out along the overhead line and the rail road on the line.

Under LOT 2 (Pazardjik-Stamboliiski) there are digging works being carried out and they are expected to be completed by the beginning of next week so that the construction of the line can start.

The greatest physical progress was reported on LOT 3 (Stamboliiski-Plovdiv). Some 4.5 km of railways have been laid, which comprises half of the line in one direction. The contractor foresees some 8.2 km of railways to be laid by 15 July, as well as the pillars of the overhead line. There are active works on the rehabilitation of the bridge over Vucha River.

The design on LOT 4 “Design and construction of signaling systems in the section Septemvri-Plovdiv and telecommunications Sofia-Plovdiv” has completed. There is a construction permit obtained and the physical implementation is to be initiated.

The total value of the project Septemvri-Plovdiv, which is being implemented under OP Transport 2007-2013, is about 630 million levs and the project is expected to be completed in the summer of 2015. The section which is being modernized encompasses about 110 km of rail road.

The Deputy Minister of Transport, Information Technology and Communications Peter Kirov, representatives of the Managing Board of OP Transport and National Railway Infrastructure Company participated in today’s inspection.

07-04-2014 - The business : Plovdiv is the industrial capital

2014 will be more optimistic for the business - this indicate the forecasts of the 100 largest companies in Bulgaria, said in an interview for Darik Radio Executive Director of the Bulgarian Business Leaders Forum George Ruichev.

Plovdiv and the region have a great potential for economic development and the city can turn into the industrial capital of Bulgaria. According to latest data in the municipality and the region - more than 65 000 people are employed in the processing industry, which is more than Sofia and Varna and Burgas together.

The business in Bulgaria expects the government to continue working towards reducing the shadow economy, said Georgi Ruichev and explained that one of the campaigns of BFBL about maximum reduction of cash payments has contributed a lot last years.

The Forum organizes a national conference "Bulgarian Industry - Mission Possible" in Plovdiv on 11 April, on which senior government officials and local authorities will discuss with participants from business priority programs for EU funding for the period 2014-2020.

According to Ruichev in recent years, Bulgarian companies do not complain dramatically from administrative obstacles. They are gaining experience and are competitive on European market. Successful business in times of economic crisis, is a result of the increased export of Bulgarian goods for foreign markets. Another characteristic is the sharp increase in the participation of major companies in Bulgaria in socially responsible projects. More than before are and the investments in education, environment and human resources.

The conference, which will be held at Novotel Plovdiv, will include deputy Economy Minister Anna Yanev and Executive Director of the Bulgarian Investment Agency Svetoslav Mladenov. Expected are also diplomats from the embassies of Germany and the Netherlands, as well as mayors of Plovdiv. Host of the discussion will be Georgi Stoev, Managing Partner of Industry Watch and moderator will be- Maxim Behar, who is also a board member of BBFL.

07-04-2014 - Bulgaria's Burgas, Turkey's Lozengrad Mull Railway LineLINK

Bulgaria's Burgas and Turkey's K?rklareli (Lozengrad) are to sign an agreement on conducting feasibility studies for a railway line connecting the two municipalities.

The document is to be signed during the first international investment forum titled "The New Economy of Bulgaria – the Road East" to be held on April 9 - 10 under the aegis of Deputy Prime Minister Daniela Bobeva, according to reports of the Bulgarian National Radio (BNR).

Pavel Marinov, District Governor of Bulgaria's Black Sea city of Burgas, explained at a press conference on Monday that the feasibility studies were to identify probable economic benefits from the railway line, the amounts of cargo which could be transported, the option of opening it to passenger trains, and the environmental risk during construction works.

04-04-2014 - Bulgarian forum for Turkish - Bulgarian businessLINK

The Executive Director of InvestBulgaria Agency Mr. Svetoslav Mladenov was a guest - lecturer at Bulgarian forum for Turkish - Bulgarian business, focused on best practices and investment opportunities, focused on the collaboration and partnership between Bulgaria and Turkey. The forum was held on 3 - 4 April in Burgas in order that those bilateral meetings to contribute to the creating new and strengthening existing business contacts between the two countries.

Mr. Mladenov presented data and analysis of the investment climate in Bulgaria, the main advantages and macroeconomic indicators of the country as a good business partner. The opportunities for the development of economic relations between the two countries and tools to attract new investment were discussed.

24-03-2014 - Bulgarian-Chinese Business forum “Plovdiv – Shenzhen: Investment and Cooperation Conference 2014” to be heldLINK

Bulgarian second-biggest city Plovdiv will host the Bulgarian-Chinese Business forum “Plovdiv – Shenzhen: Investment and Cooperation Conference 2014”, the organisers of the event announced.
Some 50 of the most important Chinese companies will participate in the forum. A big part of them are leading names not only in China but also in the world.
The Bulgarian companies will have meetings with Chinese partners.
The will also be an exhibition called “Made in Shenzhen” at which high-tech products will be displayed in the corridors and lobby of Novotel Plovdiv. The visitors will have the chance to see tablets, smart phones, smart players, cameras and others.
The event is organised by Plovdiv Municipality, Shenzhen Municipality, the Bulgarian-Chinese Business Development Association /BCBDA/ and the Shenzhen branch of China Council for the Promotion of International Trade /CCPIT Shenzhen/ jointly with the Embassy of the People's Republic of China to Bulgaria.

21-01-2014 - Bulgarian Real Estate Attracts Turkish BusinessesLINK

Turkish investors are interested in renting or purchasing real estate property in the South Bulgarian city of Plovdiv.

These are usually businessmen looking for production or trade sites, as well as warehouses, according to the annual analysis of the Association of Realtors in Plovdiv.

So far, the foreign investors interest has not affected the real estate prices in the area and they remain stable.

Among the top property buyers in Bulgaria are citizens and businesses from Russia, Greece, Cyprus, Israel. The prognosis of the realtors is for near future investments from affluent citizens of Middle Eastern and African countries.

The Association of Realtors reports another tendency – the exchange of property between Greeks, Russians and Brits.

Russian citizens are mostly interested in purchasing real estate on the Bulgarian South Black sea coast. Prices there vary between EUR 500 – EUR 1000 per sq.m.

Due to the high demand in the area, new construction flourishes.

17-01-2014 - Turkish companies are planning investments in PlovdivLINK

Bulgaria's membership in the EU is an advantage for Turkish entrepreneurs.

Turkish companies are interested in investing in Plovdiv industrial complex "Trakia economic zone" in the sectors of the automobile industry and agriculture. This explained the governor of Bursa M?nir Karaloglu during the visit of a Bulgarian business delegation led by the two managers of "Trakia economic zone" - Dr. Nikola Dobrev and Plamen Pantchev, announced stroimedia.

"Bulgaria is a member of the European Union (EU) and for the Turkish investors it can be a big advantage," said Karaloglu.

The Bulgarian business delegation presented the advantages of "Trakia economic zone", which is one of the largest Bulgarian economic projects. The Industrial territory unites 6 zones in the region of Plovdiv. So far there have been invested over 120 thousand foreign and Bulgarian entrepreneurs.

"Trakia economic zone is a unique project - there are areas in the agro sector, in high-tech sector, and some with a focus on the heavy industry. The investor has real choices," explained Dr. Nikola Dobrev the Turkish businessmen.

07-10-2013 - China looks carefully at our canning factoriesLINK

Chinese companies will invest in companies for processing and preservation of Bulgarian foods which to export to the Asian market. This was announced by Vice-President of the Bulgarian Chamber of Commerce Georgi Stoev after the Bulgarian-Chinese business forum.

"We have already companies that have bought land. In Bulgaria they are looking mainly for creating agricultural production for export to the Chinese market," said Stoev.

10-09-2013 - China wants to invest in Bulgarian State RailwaysLINK

China is interested in investments in Bulgaria, particularly in infrastructure, railways and tourism, Prime Minister Plamen Oresharski has informed.

Oresharski is in China for a working visit, held between September 8 and 12.

He presented the above information after meeting with the Chair of the State Council of the People Republic of China Li Keqiang.

In addition to the expressed investment interest, Li Keqiang had asked for equal treatment of Chinese companies in Bulgaria.

The meeting has been held in the State residence in the suburbs of the city of Dalian.

Oresharski has stressed upon the great disposition of his Chinese hosts towards Bulgaria, announcing he had invited Chinese business representatives for a visit to learn firsthand the investment opportunities offered by the country.

The Bulgarian PM is in China to attend the so-called "Annual Meeting of the New Champions" AKA "The Summer Davos," and will be one of the six Prime Ministers to take part in it.

Oresharski will have the opportunity to share his ideas and his vision during a discussion titled "New Beginning for Europe," in the presence of his counterparts from Belgium, Finland, and Malta.

The foremost business gathering in Asia within the framework of the World Economic Forum for 2013 is taking place in Dalian.

The forum brings together more than 1 600 participants from 90 countries and 95 nationalities to share strategies and solutions and discuss global issues and risks.

Young scientists, technology pioneers, social entrepreneurs, global growth companies, young global leaders and more than 300 journalists will also take part in the forum.

In a statement last Wednesday, Oresharski stressed he hoped for a strong boost in economic and trade cooperation with China.

The Bulgarian delegation also includes Bulgaria's Deputy PM for Economic Development, Daniela Bobeva and Minister of Agriculture and Foods, Dimitar Grekov.

31-05-2013 - China to build industrial park in BulgariaLINK

A mega project for a Chi­nese invest­ment in an indus­tri­al park is set to be sub­mit­ted for con­sid­er­a­tion by the Bul­gar­i­an gov­ern­ment, Chair­man of Bul­gar­i­an Trav­el and Invest­ment Devel­op­ment Cen­tre in Chi­na Ivan Todor­ov announced dur­ing the Dis­cov­er and Invest in Bul­gar­ia busi­ness forum held in the Bul­gar­i­an city of Plov­div from 27 to 29 May.

The event drew more than 160 rep­re­sent­a­tives of almost 90 Chi­nese com­pa­nies, trav­el agen­cies, cham­bers of com­merce and indus­try and oth­er organ­i­sa­tions. As well as 250 Bul­gar­i­an del­e­gates.

Accord­ing to the rep­re­sent­a­tive of the Bul­gar­i­an Con­su­late in Shang­hai Kras­tio Bel­ev, two more auto­mo­tive giants in bus man­u­fac­tur­ing in Chi­na will open facil­i­ties in Bul­gar­ia soon. Two oth­er com­pa­nies have also sig­nalled inten­tions to invest in bus and bus parts pro­duc­tion facil­i­ties in Bul­gar­ia, see­ing it as the first step in tap­ping Euro­pe­an mar­kets.

A Chi­nese invest­or is plan­ning to plough ?10 mil­lion in a pol­y­eth­yl­ene pipes fac­to­ry joint-ven­ture with a Plov­div-based con­struc­tion com­pa­ny. The ven­ture will cre­ate 120 jobs. The prod­uct man­u­fac­tured will be unmatched on the Bul­gar­i­an and the Euro­pe­an mar­kets.

Seek­ing to make it eas­ier for Chi­nese trav­el­lers to vis­it Bul­gar­ia, the cre­a­tion of a Wenz­hou-Sofia char­ter line is in the pipe­line. Every year almost 1.2 mil­lion peo­ple trav­el to Europe from this city, locat­ed about 200 km south of Shang­hai, Ivan Todor­ov explained.

Last year's trade between Bul­gar­ia and Chi­na is esti­mat­ed at $1.7bn with Chi­nese invest­ment in Bul­gar­ia for the last two years amount­ing to ?67m. The Bul­gar­i­an Min­is­try of Econ­o­my, Ener­gy and Tour­ism aims to draw stra­te­gic invest­ors from Asia in a recon­struc­tion project for the car­go air­port in the city of Stara Zag­o­ra.

"We are will­ing to share the Chi­nese dream of turn­ing glob­al oppor­tu­ni­ties into Chi­nese and Chi­nese into glob­al ones for com­mon devel­op­ment and boom. Chi­na's prime min­is­ter announced in War­saw last year 12 ini­ti­a­tives to boost coop­er­a­tion with East­ern Europe, includ­ing a spe­cial $10-bil­lion cred­it line, an ini­ti­a­tive for the cre­a­tion of a $3-mil­lion Chi­na-Cen­tral and East­ern Europe invest­ment fund and joint eco­nom­ic and cul­tur­al events," H.E. Guo Yez­hou, Ambas­sa­dor of the Peo­ple's Repub­lic of Chi­na to the Repub­lic of Bul­gar­ia said at the open­ing of the forum.

21-05-2013 - Chinese company exploring investment opportunities in BulgariaLINK

Representatives of the Chinese company "Honghua International" CO - Julia Jin and Herman Young - visited BCCI. The visit was realized with the assistance of Anastas Terzobaliev, CEO of the International company for development of tourism and real estate.

From Chinese side was represented the company's operations, which employs more than 7,000 employees and is a top manufacturer of drilling equipment and pumps for exploration and extraction of oil and gas. The representatives of "Honghua International" CO examine the investment opportunities in the country.

By BCCI was argued that there is equality in the service of foreign and local investors. The strategic location of Bulgaria is a major advantage, as the country is a gateway for entering the European market and also the way to Arab countries.

08-05-2013 - “TRACE GROUP HOLD” – EXECUTOR OF INTERMODAL TERMINAL PLOVDIVLINK

PARAMETERS
Tender commission for choosing a construction company for the intermodal terminal in Plovdiv opened three price offers.
“Terna” Greece offered BGN 17 853 000 inclusive VAT and the maximum 30 points of the technical proposal.
State Enterprise “Transport construction and renovation” gave BGN 13 191 908 and received 25 points from the technical proposal.
“Trace group hold” offered the lowest price – BGN 11 313 114 BGN and gathered 25 points from the technical proposal.
The price gives 70 points in the total grade, the technical offer – 30 points. As per the complex grade “Trace group hold” gathers 95 points, “Terna” – 74.1 points, SE TCR” – 85.2 points.
“CK-13 Transstroy” JSC and “Porr Bau” GmbH were denied to get their price offers opened.
By 13th May the commission needs to commission need to come up with a decision.
The main goal of the investment project is construction of a terminal for intermodal transport in the region of Todor Kableshkov railway station, part of railway nod Plovdiv.

The project envisages construction on 68 870 sq. m. of: intermodal site for loading and discharging operations, site for containers’ storage in two lines, site for damaged containers and damaged equipment, special places for fridge units, administrative building for clients’ services, building for customs control and customs warehousing, parking spaces for trucks and cars and control checkpoint.
The infrastructural project was announced to be a project of national importance. It is financed by OP “Transport”. The indicative grant financial support is ? 8.265 m, beneficiary – NCRI (National Company Railway Infrastructure).

08-05-2013 - Bulgaria’s NRIC seeks project manager for Plovdiv intermodal terminal construction – TEDLINK

Bulgaria's state-run railway infrastructure company NRIC has invited bids for management services on the construction of the intermodal terminal near the city of Plovdiv, a notice in the EU's procurement journal indicated on Tuesday.Under the terms of the contract, the manager will consult NRIC on the project’s implementation, will draft a plan for all the necessary activities and will provide regular information about the project’s implementation among other activities, the notice published in the Tenders Electronic Daily (TED) showed.
The bid winner will be awarded a 20-month contract agreement.
Deposit guarantee has been set at 10,000 levs ($6,700/5,100 euro). Bids have to be submitted by May 20 and will be opened on the following day.

The intermodal terminal near the second largest Bulgarian city will be part of EU-wide transport corridors IV, VIII and X. Its construction will be funded through an 8.3 million euro ($10.8 million) grant by the EU under operational programme Transport.

07-05-2013 - RICHARD SCHENZ – VICE PRESIDENT OF AUSTRIAN ECONOMIC CHAMBER AND EX- OMV GENERAL MANAGER:LINK

Richard Schenz is trained engineer and Ph.D. in Technical Sciences from the University of Technology in Vienna. He worked in different fields in OMV of which he was CEO from 1992 to 2001. He took several positions in different businesses, professional and branch organizations such as Austrian Petroleum Industry Association, Infrastructure Committee of Austrian Economic Association, government counselor on capital markets, etc. He was bestowed numerous government insignia of honour.
How did economic crisis impact Austrian business expansion in South-Eastern Europe?
- Austrian business bore the crisis in 2009 and 2010 very well but due to the long-lasting delay in the economic growth expectations for fast recovery and future growth declined. In separate cases positions were strengthened. In Austria many enterprises improved their capital bases. In contrast to other companies Austrian firms did not leave the region and continue their long-term growth perspective. Despite that efforts are necessary to ensure stable environment and clear priorities for investment in productivity, capacity and infrastructure – everything required for growth recovery.
Which sectors can you define as priority for Austrian companies, what are the new trends in this field?
- Austrian companies focus on high added value and market potential. The goal is local production base integration into international structures as well as servicing national and regional market. Many companies especially in the field of manufacture, commerce, infrastructure, finance operate on international markets and take investment decisions on the ground of the specific needs in their market niches and existing competences and resources.
Does Austrian government promote business investment in other countries?
- Austrian Federal Economic Chamber supports business centers in all South Eastern Europe countries’ capitals and even in several cities of secondary importance and encourages Austrian and local companies to use their potential and multiply their competences and resources. Globally, it supports more than 100 offices that are to inform for the business climate and business opportunities.
What encourages Austrian companies to come in Bulgaria and respectively what can prevent them to?
- Austrian companies have two main reasons to develop business in Bulgaria – they believe that Bulgarian local market has huge potential for growth in many sectors. Particularly, renovation of Bulgarian infrastructure ensures good opportunities for Austrian exporters of road sector technologies as well as ecological projects. Next, we need to point out the growing interest of Austrian companies in manufacture in South Eastern Europe: Bulgaria offers good business environment and new Austrian investment are expected to be made in the field of manufacture.
On the other hand, so far we have seen withdrawal of Austrian investment from Bulgaria. As a whole, Austrian business evaluates very carefully business environment in relation to the potential investment site before taking a firm decision to invest.

? 6 b. Austrian direct investment
With total amount of EUR 6 b Austria ranks second as most important source of foreign direct investment in Bulgaria after the Netherlands.
Nearly 400 subsidiaries and branches of Austrian companies operate in almost all business fields: manufacture, construction, commerce, finance and insurance as well as in the fields of communications and energy, real estates and transport.

07-05-2013 - GERMAN INVESTORS’ TRUST IN BULGARIA EXPANDSLINK

78% of the German investors in Bulgaria answer “Yes” the question “Would you invest again in Bulgaria?”. This was revealed in the 2013 survey carried by German Bulgarian Chamber of Industry and Commerce (AHK). The survey took place from 4th February to 4th March 2013 – in the heat of political tremors in Bulgaria when the PM Boyko Borisov resigned.
The results were officially announced at the press conference in the capital today (11.04.2013). They are based on the replies of a record for the survey number of German companies in Bulgaria – 108. German businessmen trust in Bulgaria is on the rise compared to the last year’s results when 65% of the respondents answered “Yes”.
The survey reveals that 46% of German businessmen in Bulgaria defines economic environment in Bulgaria as unfavorable. 43% of the respondents regard it as satisfactory. 11% defines it as good. “Today we presented these results to the PM Marin Raykov and he considered them optimistic. He expected them to be much worse”, commented Dr. Mitko Vasilev – manager in chief.
Greater share of German companies that would invest in Bulgaria again reflects on BNB (Bulgarian National Bank) investment statistics: as in 2011 German investment in Bulgaria shrank in 2012 German direct investment in the country stand at ? 177.7 m. This equals to 12% of the total volume of foreign investment in Bulgaria, stated AHK.
German investors’ future expectations are contradictive. 56% believe that in 2013 nothing will change in Bulgarian business climate. Only 23% expect positive development.
36% consider economic state of their enterprise in Bulgaria is good and their business is developing. 11% give bad mark. 45% expect business improvement in 2013. 11% fear worse results.
Last year Bulgarian export to Germany stood at ? 2.2 b – more than to any other country Bulgaria exports goods and services. German import in Bulgaria equals to ? 2.6 b. Trade exchange between both countries marks a new record of ? 4.8 b. Just for comparison – 10 years ago it was ? 1.9 b. It increased two and a half times.
Comparing to 2012 German investors give more critical evaluation of Bulgaria’s political and social stability. The heaviest political and economic problems in Bulgaria continue to be inefficient public management, weak judicial system, lack of transparency in public works, lack of reforms in the field of education and corruption. “In Bulgaria Ministry of Finance decided not to refund VAT for the last two months of 2012. This created a significant problem”, commented Dr. Benno Bunse, CEO of German Trade and Invest Agency.
Survey participants give positive mark to tax burden – low tax rates of corporate tax and income tax standing at 10%. Investors appreciate the fact that they are allowed to generate capital for a comparatively short time.
Labor qualification is highly appreciated as well. But finding new staff turns out to be difficult although unemployment stands at 12%. Many German companies suffer from the lack of qualified employees, the survey reveals. German investors recommend Bulgaria to introduce a German type of system for professional training. As for them it could prove to be a solution for the lack of employees. This model could have a positive effect on unemployment as well.
Another successful German model they recommend is innovation promotion. More than 50% of the respondents are not happy with scientific activity terms.
AHK business survey was made every year since 2005. It is a part from business environment studies carried out by commercial chambers in Central and Eastern Europe countries. Studies aim to reveal strong and weak points of regional economies. Besides, this data can serve for preparing future prognosis of the economic trends in the region.

07-05-2013 - COCOA FROM PARVOMAYLINK

Turkish Altinmarka purchased French ADF ex-woolen factory for BGN 9.3 m.
Altinmarka entered Bulgaria with their subsidiary “Alcao” with main activity cocoa and chocolate products manufacturing and raw materials import.
Bulgarian deal with Turkish producer of cocoa liqueur and cocoa powder was finalized at the end of February
Turkish company for cocoa liqueur and cocoa powder Altinmarka purchased ex woolen factory in Parvomay. The deal was finalized at the end of February 2013 and the seller is French company ADF.
The sale is one of the most significant on industrial land market that was comparatively slow in the last few years. In their quarter report consultant company Forton International also regards the deal as one of the most important for the period. According to Forton a deal of similar scale for the last few months could be when Greek company for solar system components manufacturing Nobel Xilinakis hired a 22 500 sq. m. factory of the Italian group “Miroglio” in the town of Elin Pelin.
New in Parvomay
The Turkish company acquired the factory of gross Built-up area of 22 000 sq. m. along with the adjacent terrain. As per Property Register the price paid for the property is BGN 9.3 m.
The factory in Parvomay was built on a plot of 20 000 sq. m. sold by the Municipality to the French investor “Devavren”, owner of ADF. Construction was completed in 2002. ADF entered Bulgarian market via their enterprise “ADF Bulgaria” and for years it was the biggest investor in Parvomay. The crisis, though, caused a decline in company’s production and in 2008 the Bulgarian branch was closed. Later the warehouse and production base went out of the rent market.
Presently, on the place of the French company in the town entered Turkish producer that is among the leaders in its field. Altinmarka was found in 1992 and started its production two years later with the ambitions to become a global company. Presently, it is exactly that – purchasing cocoa beans from the biggest producers – Ghana and Republic of C?te d'Ivoire, produces cocoa liqueur and cocoa powder and sells them to more than 200 factories in the world located in 40 countries. The company has strong positions on the Turkish market and so far more than 50% of its revenues come from the Turkish market.
In Bulgaria Altinmarka entered with its subsidiary “Alcao” registered in Plovdiv at the end of February, 2013. The company’s main activity is cocoa and chocolate products manufacture and raw materials import. It is entirely owned by the Turkish concern and is officially represented by Halit Sinan Velioglu. For now, Altinmarka refuses to give further details for their future plans in Bulgaria.

07-05-2013 - ESO RESTRICTIONS ON RENEWABLE ENERGY CONTINUELINK

Restrictions imposed by Electricity System Operator (ESO) on renewable energy producers in order to balance electricity distribution continue. After yesterday's restrictions today the three electricity distribution companies CEZ, EVN and Energo-pro need to reduce by 40% their photovoltaic and wind power production from 10:00 to 17:00.

30-04-2013 - NORWEGIAN FINANCIAL MECHANISM 2009 - 2014LINK

More than EUR 2 m to be invested in capacity-building in Bulgarian Municipalities

Project to strengthen local authorities’ capacity in Bulgaria through cooperation with the local authorities in Norwey to be financed under Norwegian FM 2009-2014 grant support.
“Through cooperation and exchange of knowledge, experience and good practices we would like to develop modern and efficient local administrative capacity serving as a spine to society and guarantee for a steady growth”, stated Ginka Tchavdarova, Executive Director of National Association of Municipalities in Republic of Bulgaria – project beneficiary.
Its partner is Norwegian Association of local and regional authorities that included 428 municipalities, 19 regions and 500 municipal enterprises.
The project duration is 30 months and its budget stands at EUR 1 093 694. It is part of Programme BG11 “Capacity-building and institutional cooperation” of total budget of EUR 2 371 765 out of which Norwegian FM grants EUR 2 016 000.

“Through EEA and Norwegian FM mechanisms Norway along with Iceland and Lichtenstein grant Bulgaria BGN 126.6 m earmarked for programmes and projects of different fields such as environment protection, justice and internal affairs, cultural heritage preservation, human and social development, civil society support” , stated H. E. Guro Katharina Vik?r, Norwegian Ambassodor to Bulgaria, during Bulgarian Municipalities Forum on 28th February in Sofia. Ourgoing EU Funds management Minister, Tomislav Donchev, thanked state donors for the solidarity and understanding in the negotiations and encouraged municipal representatives to seize the opportunities these two financial mechanisms give. BG11 Programme creates a platform for capacity-building and institutional cooperation between Bulgarian and Norwegian public institutions, local and regional authorities by offering a set of measures that are to be realized through two predefined projects with beneficiaries National Association of Local Municipalities in Republic of Bulgaria (NAMRB) and Ministry of Regional Development and Public Works.
NAMRB project has 3 components:
Capacity-building for development of efficient dialogue between Bulgarian local and central authorities
The main goal is through exchange of good practices with the Norwegian Association of Local and Regional Authorities Bulgarian municipalities to improve their efficiency while pursuing their common interests in front of Executive and Legislative powers; higher efficiency in taking the opportunities for participation in consultant bodies, working groups, etc. that prepare projects for normative acts, strategies, programmes, etc.
Creation of municipal financial online platform
Improvement of the frame and capacity-building for sustainable and transparent local finance management in relation to the decentralization strategy and recommendations of the Council of Europe for better implementation of the requirements of the European Charter for local self-government concerning higher citizens’ participation in local problems solution. It envisages creation of an online database of the municipal finances allowing objective comparative analyses of local budgets, taxes and charges’ state in the separate municipalities. This online platform will have two modules: internal – accessible exclusively for the local administration; and external – public- with e-services and information for the citizens and business. It envisages introduction of Norwegian type of sustainable and transparent finance management in 6 pilot Bulgarian municipalities.

Creation of efficient forms of intermunicipal cooperation for public services
It includes studying Norway experience in cooperation between municipalities for realizing projects of regional importance. As a result, sample partnership contracts will be prepared with full description of the mechanisms for Municipal Councils decision making, potential fields of collaboration, etc. Resources cover creation of intermunicipal cooperation forms in 30 pilot Bulgarian municipalities.
The second project in BG11 is “Bulgarian cross-border dialogue. Includes creation of regional database for cross-border cooperation” with beneficiary DG “Territorial cooperation management” in Ministry of Regional Development and Public Works and budget of EUR 1 076 471. It envisages creation of database for cross-border relations between Bulgarian, Serbian and Turkish border municipalities. Project duration – 38 months.

For further information: http://eeagrants.org/News/2013/Cooperation-to-strengthen-local-authorities-in-Bulgaria

30-04-2013 - BULGARIAN GERMAN COMPANY TO CONSTRUCT WASTE TREATMENT PLANT IN KARLOVOLINK

Karlovo may construct hard waste treatment plant in the next years. The site will be located near the existing dumping-ground close to the town where several municipality depot their waste. The Municipality received investment proposal for EUR 40 m. It regards construction of thermolysis waste burning as well as greenhouse for flowers and vegetables on total area of 80 acres. The project belong to a Bulgarian company with German share, announce the chairman of Municipal Council of Karlovo, eng. Stoyo Karagenski. Waste depot in Karlovo has 5 cells that soon will be filled leading to searching for new plots. Bulgarian – German company’s proposal envisages the future plant to process the waste collected as well as the waste already deposited and to accept other waste quantities. In few days Municipality will meet investor’s representatives. After the meeting it is highly probable after the proposal to be discussed by the Municipal Council, stated Stoyo Karagenski.
In a month the parliament of Karlovo can examine another proposal made by a Dutch company for building a plant for processing separately collected waste in close proximity to the existing dumping-ground. Some of company’s intentions are to purchase the 240 acres greenhouse near the town of Banya that was acquired by First Investment Bank from Plovdiv businessman Hristo Danov because of bad bank loan. Renovation of one of the biggest greenhouses in Bulgaria in the past could create hundreds of jobs in production and tens of jobs for specialists.
Meetings between the municipal management body and both companies’ representatives that are interested to invest in Karlovo Municipality are scheduled to take place in a week. It is true that the municipality got itself burnt from the attempt for public-private partnership by granting its sports base in Banya and 1200 acres arable land. But 5 years ago there was no Public-Private Partnership Act and municipalities’ interests were practically unprotected. Presently, there is such an Act and municipalities have greater guarantees, commented Stoyo Karaganski.

29-04-2013 - Plovdiv with Modern Multimillion ZooLINK

Plovdiv municipality is negotiating with several companies for constructing a modern zoo of 3 m BGN. That was announced on Darik Radio by the municipal property vice mayor Dimitar Katzarski.
The zoo will be bigger than the existing one with a big cinema hall. The attraction will be a glass tunnel-shaped aquarium where people will stroll to observe the life of different sea species and plants, Katzarski explained.

A part of the future deal will be the adjacent restaurant "Chanovete", the vice mayor added.

25-03-2013 - № 2 in chocolate production in the world to open a factory in ParvomayLINK

“Altin Marka” that ranks second in the world in chocolate confectionery production and sixth in cocoa confectionery production is to open a factory in the town of Parvomay. The investment was officially announced on the third Bulgarian – Turkish business forum aiming to promote economic development of the municipalities being members of RAO (Regional Association of Municipalities) “Trakia” and “Trakiakent” held on Saturday in the town of Parvomay.
The Turkish company realized its production via companies such as “Nestle” and “Kraft”. It recently purchased ex-French woolen yarn factory ADF in the town and would use the base for cocoa and chocolate products manufacture. The factory was transferred from the French to the Turkish owner and there are ongoing procedures factory’s launch which will reveal nearly 180 jobs. Factory’s ownership transfer brought more than 230 000 BGN revenues for the municipality, “Maritza” learnt.
Beside “Altinmarka” representatives the forum was attended by Turkish consul in Plovdiv Sener Cebeci, mayor of Tekirdac and “Trakiakent” president - Adem Dalgac, Malkara mayor, Sadovo mayor – Dimitar Zdravkov, Chamber of Industry and Commerce representatives from Plovdiv, Haskovo and Tekirdag, Bulgarian consul in Edirne – Lyubomir Popov, prof. Ivan Varlyakov, RAO “Trakia” president, Angel Angelov, secretary general of Plovdiv District Administration, Tekirdag financial director, Dechko Petkov, president of the Municipal Council in Parvomay as well as many Turkish and Bulgarian businessmen.
Mayor of Parvomay, Angel Papazov showed the guests part of the production bases of the companies in the region and met both counties’ businessmen. Plovdiv cosmetic company “Rose impex” presented a new line containing argan oil anti-aging stem cells. “Winery” AD Asenovgrad and Winery “ Zagreus”treated with fine selection of wines and Bor – Chvor and Elit 95 presented traditional Bulgarian yellow cheese, cheese, milk and dairy products. Both countries’ business representatives had the opportunity to taste different types of can foods produced by “Bulcons”, BBP and “Vital” as well as fresh vegetables and fruits by “Greens” and Doyan Agro. Turkish company “Memo” with factory in Haskovo presented traditional syrup desserts.
“Steady trend of mutual understanding and collaboration between local authorities in Bulgaria and Turkey is a fact. As and ex- vice president and present chairman of RAO “Trakia” Control Council this good partnership is a product of work of many years. I am deeply convinced there are many other things to connect and unite us. Today’s forum is the third one. First we were in Sliven then in Dimitrovgrad, now in Parvomay. The forum was attended by Plovdiv District and Stara Zagora District representatives in order to strengthen our good relations and business contacts”, said the mayor of Parvomay Angel Papazov at forum’s grand opening.
Mr. Dalgac was thanksful for the warm hospitability and good organization. “During our visit here we saw that there are many good places for investing in Bulgaria. This proves that the work in the last 4 years between RAO “Trakia” and “Trakiakent” has taken the right direction”. The general consul of Turkey in Plovdiv Sener Cemeci said that very often there are meetings between the governmental representatives of both countries. “Our relations are constantly developing and we are very glad. And part of these relations are relations between the local authorities. Not long ago in our general consul’ office was opened commercial attach? job position. This comes to prove the point at which our relations develop – we needed such a position. I would like to tell all businessmen that our commercial attach? is at your services, make avail of it. Such business forums are important because they promote commercial relations but also they create personal relations”, Cemeci stated.
Turkish businessmen were presented also the investment opportunities for business development in Municipalities of Parvomay, Chirpan and Sadovo.

20-03-2013 - INDUSTRIAL PRODUCTION INDICES IN JANUARY 2013LINK

Recently NSI published preliminary data in relation to the industrial production indices in January 2013 in Bulgaria. According to the statistics the index increase by 7,9% compared to January 2012 and registered 1,1% increase on monthly basis.
On annual basis in January 2013 Industrial Production Index registered increase in the manufacture of electrical equipment by 27.5%, in the electricity, gas, steam and air conditioning supply by 18.4% and in the manufacturing by 5.6% while in the mining and quarrying industry a decrease by 5.6% was seen.
In the manufacturing, the more significant increases compared to the same month of the previous year were seen in the manufacture of paper and paper products by 45.1%, in the manufacture of basic pharmaceutical products and pharmaceutical preparations by 29.1%, in the manufacture of basic metals and in the manufacture of electrical equipment by 27.5%, in the manufacture of textiles by 22.3%. Decreases were registered in the manufacture of computer, electronic and optical products by 22.0%, in the manufacture of chemicals and chemical products by 7.8%, in the manufacture of tobacco products by 6.7%.
On monthly basis in January 2013 Industrial Production Index increased by 2.9% in the manufacturing, while decreases were registered in the mining and quarrying industry by 6.8% and in the electricity, gas, steam and air conditioning supply by 0.8%.
The most significant increases of production in the manufacturing were seen in the manufacture of basic metals by 64.1%, in the manufacture of rubber and plastic products by 21.2%, in the manufacture of beverages by 19.8%, in the manufacture of basic pharmaceutical products and pharmaceutical preparations by 14.0%, in the manufacture of chemicals and chemical products by 9.9%. There was decrease in the repair and installation of machinery and equipment by 8.7%, in the printing and reproduction of recorded media by 2.1%, in the manufacture of electrical equipment by 1.9%, in the manufacture of paper and paper products by 1.8%.

20-03-2013 - OUTGOING GOVT APPROVED DECREE FOR AMENDING INVESTMENT PROMOTION ACT IMPLEMENTATING REGULATIONSLINK

Proposed amendments:
1. New economic activities from service sector to be included in the list for issuing Investment Certificate Class A and Class B: high technologies, for example programme product issue, technical tests and analyses, engineering, accounting activities, etc.; shared office activities, call centers, etc.
A number of new economic activities are now eligible for issuance of investment certificates in service sector such as outsourcing where investment size is moderate but employment effect is significant.
2. Thresholds for Class A and Class B Certificates are to be decreased as it follows: economic activities in the industrial sector – BGN 10 m for Class A and BGN 5 m for Class B; economic activities in service sector – BGN 3 m for Class A and BGN 1.5 m for Class B.
Thresholds for high tech investment and investment in high unemployment regions: Class A – BGN 4 m, Class B – BGN 2 m.
Thresholds for investing in knowledge-intensive services (KIS) and high tech industry knowledge-intensive services (KIS): Class A – BGN 2 m; Class B – BGN 1 m.

Thresholds for certifying priority projects for industrial zones construction got decreased.

3. When the project envisages opening new jobs Class A and Class B Certificates’ thresholds are getting decreased compared to the basic ones under the condition that the investor needs to maintain the new jobs for 5 years for big and for 3 years for small and mid-sized enterprises. Generally, the thresholds were changed to: industries – BGN 4m for Class A, 150 new jobs revealed and BGN 2 m for Class B, 100 new jobs revealed; economic activities within services sector – BGN 1m for Class A, 150 new jobs revealed; BGN 0.5 m for Class B, 100 jobs revealed.

4. Regulations define the order and terms for partial refund of the obligatory health and social contributions (Income Tax, Supplementary Mandatory Retirement Provision and Health Contributions) the investor pays for the newly employed workers and employees. Contribution payments shall be refunded for 24 months. This new promotion measure was approved with the last amendments in Investment Promotion Act.

20-03-2013 - ITALIANS TO PRODUCE HYDRAULIC CYLIDERS NEAR PLOVDIVLINK

CBM Group will build it its own factory for hydraulic cylinders production on the territory of “Maritza” Municipality. Negotiations with the local administrative bodies are about to be finalized, confirmed municipality’s vice-mayor Stefan Tzankov. The company is one of the biggest Italian producers of hydraulic cylinders in Europe. It was founded as a family company in Modena at times (1967) when agriculture was quite more different than what it is today. Time changes made Italian producer’s work transform into two main sectors, which they are still developing – tractors and their components.
Today CBM Group has its own factories in Poland and India functioning as hydraulic cylinder producers in the field of agricultural machinery. Every year Poland produces tractors as per CBM’s brand. So far, in Bulgaria these Italians have been working with local suppliers exclusively.
The factory on “Maritza” Municipality territory shall focus on production and export. Factory’s constructed area is nearly 4000 sq. m. on a 6000 sq. m. plot. It is still unknown in which industrial zone of “Maritza” Municipality the factory will be located. “This will be revealed at our next meeting with the investors at the end of April”, specified Tzankov adding that expectations were the factory to reveal 40 new jobs.

14-03-2013 - FUEL MADE IN BULGARIALINK

After months of strenuous work the first Bulgarian electric vehicles charger is worming its way to the market. By the end of March tests need to be completed in the town of Stara Zagora and in April the first 50 chargers must be produced. By September 2013 about 100 “Lukoil” gas stations will implement green “IKEM”-labelled chargers next to the A95, A98 and gas filling columns, announced Iliya Levkov, president of the board of directors of Electric vehicles industrial cluster (IKEM), for “Trud” newspaper.
The first Bulgarian electric vehicles charger is a product of cluster’s members. Svetlin Garev made the construction and corpus design belongs to George Chervendiev. The cluster has already provided financing for chargers’ production that will take place in “Passat” JSC in Tzarevo – a company whose main activity is yachts and scooters production.
“We insisted on chargers having high added value made in Bulgaria. The corpus and part of the electronics are fully-produced in Bulgaria. Only few parts were made by two European companies”, Levkov said.
The corpus is glass-reinforced and its height nears human size. The front panel has seven-inch colorful display that in relation to buyers’ preferences could be resized up to 15 inches. The screen shows charging status. Meanwhile, it can display video ads.
Chargers will be managed by a pre-paid smart card. Presently, there are pre-paid cards of 50 BGN. As for Levkov the electricity price could be by 20% higher than industrial electricity’s regular price depending on chargers’ location.
Charger prime cost is 4000 BGN that is by 1000 BGN higher than the imported analogues. “Passat” production capacity is nearly 50 chargers per month. So far, financing has been provided for 100 chargers production and cluster’s members are anticipating the establishment of a National Fund to calculate the revenues from selling greenhouse quotes. Thereupon, the fund should finance the production of hundreds of Bulgarian chargers. The ambitious national program for introducing electric vehicles in Bulgaria envisages 7000 electric chargers in Bulgaria within few years.
Many people imagine that the charger is a simple plug into 220V or 230V network but it is quite different. If one starts charging their electric vehicle by one’s house plugs, it is highly probable to cause damage on the electricity installation. Mainly because installation is not programmed to work at maximum voltage for 4 or 5 hours required for charging an electric vehicle. And it would overheat. Chargers have specific protection against overheating as well as against blackout.
Besides, Bulgarian charger has the electric equipment saved in a separate box. In case of any damage, this allows even unprofessional to remove it and replace it with a new one. Despite all efforts to promote electric vehicles on the market, their number in Bulgaria is on a slow rise. For the last few years only 232 cars were registered as electric vehicles.
In the autumn of 2012 Sofia Municipality granted free vouchers for electric vehicles parking places in the Blue Area out of which only 20 were given out. That is why cluster members hope to make an agreement with Interlease for leasing purchases of electric vehicles. It will be probably ready in a week or two. As per the preliminary intentions, monthly instalments are to include the value of the “fuel” by giving a pre-paid card for Bulgarian chargers.

12-03-2013 - SOFIA TECH PARK CEO: TECH PARK IS WHERE SCIENCE, EDUCATION and BUSINESS MEETLINK

Its idea is to be a center of attraction for creative and innovative ideas.

Elitsa Panayotova is an architect with diverse experience and over ten years professional experience in design and investment consulting. She graduated from the University of Architecture, Civil Engineering and Surveying with a Master’s degree in urban planning and architecture. Her second Master’s degree in urban planning and housing policy is from the University of Lincoln, UK.
Her professional career began in the mid-nineties, primarily with urban development projects – “Business Park Sofia”, Sofia city center (with two awarded competition development team projects), Black sea resorts and more.
Her experience in the field of architectural design includes an office, retail, residential and industrial buildings, including building 3 in “Business Park Sofia”; office buildings at border posts in Silistra and Lesovo; winery “Chateau RuKo”, Yambol, winery “Santa Sarah”, Gorica, hotels on the Black Sea, many interiors.
Elitsa is a consultant to a number of international investors and manager of some of the biggest investment projects in Bulgaria.

Mrs. Panayotova, last year you participated in a number of meetings abroad, aimed at collecting valuable information for the implementation of technological park in Sofia. What is the main thing you learned from them?

Generally, the first step must be well thought out. Most such projects are started with an incubator and their relationship with universities. This is the direction that “Sofia Tech Park” is aimed at.

The example of which cities do you think we can use in Sofia, and why? What is their approach and what exactly proved their concept profitable?

We can learn and use as idea something from all of them. The main focus is on start-up companies. From the parks in Tallinn I liked the events that bring together students and business (established and start-up), as well as the demo space in which you can test different products and innovations of companies in the park; the cluster, set up by Spain’s high speed rail transport company in Malaga; the Technology Transfer Center at the Catholic University of Leuven; the shared lecture space in “Harvard i-Lab”; free beer every Thursday, which brings together people with different ideas in Cambridge incubator.. I can flood you with examples.

What kind of program have you set for this year in connection with the development of the project? Who will be the key points in it?

A key issue for us is the interaction with the business environment, the universities and science. We are planning strategic participation in existing events through presentations, discussions, mentoring programs, jury, interactive exhibitions, workshops, trainings and overall – transfer of know-how. At the same time we want to launch a series of activities, produced by us, aimed to attract, encourage and promote innovative ideas and projects that stimulate the economy towards sectors with high added value.

How will you determine the allocation of available funds?

Money is distributed roughly as follows: approximately 50% of the amount will be allocated to site preparation, physical infrastructure, and renovation of existing and construction of new buildings. About 30% will be allocated for research facilities, i.e. laboratories with their equipment and the rest 20% are called for the so called “soft measures” – those who need to fill the technological park with content.

How do you think the technological park will change Sofia? How different will the city be?

A place that has been closed and almost dysfunctional as social environment for too long in a key metropolitan location will be completely transformed and open to everyone. The idea is that this would be the PLACE for creative people and innovative ideas for informal contact and exchange of experience, an encounter between science, education and business. We also plan to create a forum for debates and meetings as well as large park area. The attractive elements include events, incubator, interactive space where even the smallest can learn about science and technology. We will provide field for the expression of ideas in our demonstration areas. We will include representatives of different fields with projects improving the urban environment through sustainable development and contribution from the collaboration between science, technology and business. We put all our efforts to turn the strategic space in Sofia that has been entrusted to us, into an attractive place for scientific experts and business companies from the country and the region; to offer a unique base for development and turn it into not only national, but also Balkan center for innovation, technology and economy of knowledge.

When is the Advisory Council to the park planned to start functioning? What powers will it possess?

Its composition is accepted and is accompanied by a description of its activities and functions. We are now at the stage of sending the letters of invitation to the members of the Advisory Council. The idea is that it is composed of business, science, education and institutions representatives that are relevant to the development of “Sofia Tech Park”.

12-03-2013 - Trakia Hwy construction company contracted a loan to complete the workLINK

The leading partner in “Trakia” IV – “PST holding” owned by Vasil Bozhkov signed a loan agreement to complete the construction of the trace from Zimitza to Karnobat, announce the Ministry of Regional Development and Public Works after inspecting the trace.

Financing will be used to cover liabilities to suppliers and purchasing the required construction materials.

Last week when it became clear that works on the last highway trace go behind the schedule and payments are in delay, PST Holding executive director Ivan Ivanov stated that he was negotiating for a loan of BGN 40 m. He added that 75% of the Yambol – Karnobat track (49 km) construction works were already completed.

After inspecting the trace outgoing minister Lilyana Pavlova added that it was highly probable to the last “Trakia” hwy lot to be completed till the beginning of the summer. The deadline is 31 May; it was extended due to force majeure circumstances.

In her opinion the work pace on the side was restored.

“What I see today, namely, prepared traces are getting asphalted, gives me a reason to think that the company will honor the deadline. Out of all 35 transport structures – bridges, over- and underpasses – there are only two to build but I saw they were working intensively.

Pavlova marked that in order to keep the deadline the construction company needs to be mobilized and use every single day for three-shift work.

“Trakia” highway construction is financed by OP “Transport”. The budget of the last lot between Yambol and Karnobat is BGN 209.6 m. and payments are being made upon presenting certificates for completed construction. So far BGN 165.5 m. were paid.

11-03-2013 - CHINESE COMPANY TO BUILD TUBE PRODUCTION FACTORY NEAR PLOVDIVLINK

China Volant Industry intends to build a tube production factory in Plovdiv, company’s representatives announced in Bulgarian Construction Chamber – Plovdiv.
As for them steel reinforced polyethylene tubes would be unique on the European market. The tubes have high density, higher solidity and use steel net which guarantees higher endurance against internal pressure. They are appropriate for mine industry, chemical industry, gas transportation network, water and sewerage systems, port equipment and machinery, airports, etc.
According to company’s data in China in 2012 were produced 12 000 km of such tubes and the Bulgarian company would certify them in Europe.
China Volant Industry (VOLINCO) is a part of China Aerospace Science and Industry Corporation (CASIC) with main activity Research and Development Projects.

01-03-2013 - THE NEWEST PHARMACEUTICAL PLANT IN SOFIA TO EXPORT ITS PRODUCTS TO EASTLINK

“Fortex” – the newest pharmaceutical plant in Sofia proves the fact that crisis do not hit health sector sales. Plant investment stands at BGN 3 million. So far, the company has been trading only nutritional supplements but it has already filed the papers for medicine registration in Bulgarian Drug Agency.
The plant will open in April in Sofia quarter of Suhodol and will produce 35 types of capsules and dose sashets (soluble powder) meant for Bulgarian market and export to 10 countries.

Supplements outsourcing

The company was established 10 years ago in a flat by two partners – George Philipov and Ivan Stefanov. At that time supplements were a new modern product and Russia (where one of the partners graduated) had long traditions in natural products manufacture. Back then “Fortex” imported original Russian immune system booster of reindeer antlers and offered it to drug stores.
“It was accepted very well and we started looking for recipes to prepare a product of our own”, said Ivan Stefanov. They started with weight loss products serving as a base for a group of products. Then they created a Bulgarian version of a Cuba product against increased cholesterol. Presently “Fortex” produces a line of 40 types of supplements – capsules, pills, syrups, gels, etc. But for ten years the company has assigned production to subcontractors.

So far three Bulgarian pharmaceutical plants use “Fortex” recipes to produce additives – “Adipharm”, Pharmaceutical Plants “Milve” and “Lavena” – Shumen. Few of them have traditions in natural products and will continue producing “Fortex” even after the plant opens.

Top priority construction

The company developed its activities and started exporting its production to Russia (biggest share), Cyprus, Lithuania, Latvia, Macedonia and Azerbaijan leading plant’s own production capacities to become a must. Few of the clients wanted special supplement under their own brand and as per their own recipe, others were directly selling their products.
Orders increased and to honor the contracts in time, export contracts in particular, the two partners had to have production capacities of their own.
In order to finance the construction of the future plant, equipment purchase and employees training the company counts on bank loans.
Business plan envisages 1 million of capsules production per year as well as medicines in the future. The plant will have a certificate for pharmaceutical production – GMP (good manufacturing practices). Presently most of the big nutritional supplements companies manufacture their products under the same conditions as medicines production.

Supplements market in Bulgaria is estimated at BGN 184 m in 2012, it registered 7.7% increase, there are 300 companies on the market – manufacturers and importers inclusive, competing with more than 3000 products. Last information on “Fortex” turnover dates back in 2011 when company sales revenues were BGN 2.8 m.

01-03-2013 - 5 COMPANIES IN THE INTERMODAL TERMINAL TENDERLINK

Today, 28.01.2013 tender bids on Plovdiv intermodal terminal construction were opened.
Five companies were allowed to continue the procedure:

- TERNA S.A.;
- "CK - 13 Transstroy" JSC;
- State Enterprise "Transport construction and rehabilitation";
- Trace Group Hold
- Porr Bau GmbH

By 13th May the Commission needs to come up with a decision and in parallel to open the price bids as well.
The main goal of the investment project is construction of an intermodal terminal in the region of "Todor Kableshkov" railway station, part of railway nod Plovdiv.
The project spans on 68 870 sq. m. and envisages construction of: load handling operations site, two-line container storage site, damaged equipment and containers site, special site for refrigerator units, administrative premises for client's service, customs control and customs store premises, truck and car parking lot and checkpoint.

Works include technical project preparation and construction works.
There shall be constructed: turn-off from track five, 650 m length of second dead-end track, arrival-and-departure track and maneuvering pull-out track. The project envisages railway switches, train air brakes system as well as telecommunication, electrification and power supply.
The winner needs to reconstruct the existing 770 m long four-class road, to engineer and construct road connection, car and truck parking lot, water, sewerage and sanitation system. Tender bid includes construction of administrative premises, customs, gas station and car wash.

Execution term - 31 months.
The construction of an intermodal terminal in South Central Planning Region in Bulgaria - Plovdiv is co-financed by European Regional Development Fund via OP "Transport" 2007- 2013.

13-02-2013 - FIFTH SHPP TO BE CONSTRUCTED IN RODOPI MUNICIPALITYLINK

First sod of a new SHPP near the village of Kadievo was made on 2nd February. The investor is “NAT 2004” Ltd – Devin and the subcontractor – “Dragiev & Co” - a company in Plovdiv.
For the first time we have a site completely located on public state property, i.e. in Vucha river-bed, that is why the building permit and water usage permit of 23.08.2012 were issued by the Council of Ministers, commented the architect in chief in “Rodopi” Municipality Atanas Nedevski.
Just one eighth of the registered SHPP projects in the country were completed, announced last year the minister of environment and water Nona Karadzhova. One of the main reasons is the long and complicated procedure on obtaining building permits which need to comply with the compatibility assessments with the European eco network NATURA 2000 and other ecological assessments.
Three SHPP are already working on the territory of Rodopi municipality, two are in process of construction. HPP “Kadievo” is the only one with termless building permit on public state land. The expected annual production is 970 000 KWh and as per the signed preliminary contract with EVN Bulgaria EAD the HPP becomes a part of the Bulgarian energy system. The powerhouse, the solid concrete head and the fish-way shall be located as per Vucha river-bed conditions. In front of the wall there shall be a dam with dimensions 23m per 19m.
As for the investor Vasil Tassev the whole equipment – from the turbine to the powerhouse switchboard shall be supplied by an Austrian company. The construction is expected to be completed by the end of the year.

13-02-2013 - 812 BGN AVERAGE SALARY, 674 BGN – in PLOVDIVLINK

According to statistics the average salary in the country in December was 812 BGN. In October it was 776 BGN and in November – 778 BGN. In January it stood at 720 BGN. Except for June, July and August the remunerations increased, in January the average remuneration being 720 BGN.
The highest salaries are being paid in the city of Sofia. In December the average one was 1074 BGN and in the column “plus bonuses” the amount is 1126 BGN. Employees in Sofia District are the second in terms of the highest average salaries – 816 BGN. Then comes Vratza with 811 BGN, Stara Zagora – 806 BGN, Varna 784 BGN, Burgas 707 BGN and Plovdiv 674 BGN. Adding the annual bonuses the average salary in Plovdiv region stands at 687 BGN in December.
The lowest salaries in the country are in Vidin – 522 BGN on the average, Smolyan and Yambol 556 BGN and Kardzhali 562 BGN.
In Q4 2011 the average salary in Plovdiv was 616 BGN. The annual remuneration growth stands at a little bit less than 10%. The curious fact is that December 2010 on December 2011 comparison proves to be insignificant – from 601 BGN the average salary in the region increased to 616 BGN, i.e. by 2,5%.
As a whole the South Central region including districts of Plovdiv, Kardzhali, Pazardzhik, Haskovo and Smolyan takes medium position in relation to remuneration size. It stands at 634 BGN. The lowest average salaries in Q4 were in North Central region – 626 BGN and the highest ones in South Western region – 980 BGN.
NSI registers that in Q4/2012 the average monthly salary has increased compared to Q3 by 4.6% and reached 789 BGN. The biggest increase is in sector education – by 14,6%, in “Other activities” – by 7.3% and in “Human health and social work activities” – by 6.6%.
The highest average monthly remuneration in Q4 was received by employees in “Information and communication” field – 1832 BGN. Then come the salaries in “Electricity, gas, steam and air conditioning supply” – 1561 BGN and “Financial and insurance activities” – 1503 BGN.
The lowest are the salaries in “Administrative and support service activities” – 504 BGN, “Accommodation and food service activities” – 518 BGN and in “Other activities” – 616 BGN.

12-02-2013 - GVNT TO GIVE 24 m MORE TO PLOVDIV “BICYCLE TRACK” HALLLINK

A new installment of 24 m BGN without VAT shall receive Plovdiv Municipality to complete the multifunctional sports hall famous as Bicycle Track. The financing was ensured by Council of Ministers’ statement № 31/08.02.2013, announced yesterday the mayor Ivan Totev. Last year the government gave 15 m BGN for the “Bicycle Track”.
This amount is sufficient to finish the hall. Until now the site was assigned to “Metalstroy” company that needs to finish the roof and the hydro insulation by the end of March. Today the Municipality will sign a contract with “Glavbolgarstroy” The company was the sole candidate in the public tender and shall do the finishing works for the whole complex. As per the offer, the job shall be done within 360 days. We have a tacit agreement with the construction company to have the hall completely finished by July, said Totev. He explained that beside the main building the assignee took the arrangement to make 6 000 sq. m. parking lot and photovoltaic plates on the roof as well as three entrances from “Mendeleev” str. and “Naycho Tzankov” str. The streets can be made next year, the mayor noted.
Upon contract sign “Glavbolgarstroy” shall receive 12 m BGN advance payment. The hall has at least 6500 seats but it is possible to put additional ones 8500 seats in total depending on the contests. After maximum one month or one month and a half the municipal tariff on rent shall be changed. For European championships the hall shall be rented against 10 000 BGN or 11 000 BGN per day.
We are negotiating with big investors on the name of the hall following the example set by “Arena Armeetz” Hall in Sofia. The capital wins nearly 1m BGN just by the hall name. We expect the annual revenues to be 600 000 or 700 000 BGN per year, Totev said.

11-02-2013 - BULGARIA’S EXPORT TO EU ON THE FALL, FOR THIRD COUNTRIES – ON THE RISELINK

For the period from January – November 2012 Bulgaria’s export to EU and third countries runs to BGN 37.661 billion, announce NSI. It has increased by BGN 1.13 billion compared to January – November 2011. Export to EU members stood at BGN 22.092 billion. Compared to the same period in 2011 it registered BGN 707 million decrease.
At the same time import from EU increased. From BGN 24.804 billion for January-November 2011 it ran at BGN 27.006 billion in 2012.
Main trade partners of Bulgaria were Germany (BGN 4.321 billion), Romania (BGN 3.431 billion) and Italy (BGN 3.190 billion). The lowest export for the same period was directed to Luxembourg, Lithuania and Latvia.
Bulgaria’s export to third countries reached BGN 15.568 billion, stated NSI. Compared to January-November 2011 it has increased by BGN 1.840 billion.
Main third countries export partner of Bulgaria is Turkey. The volume to the neighboring country is on the rise from BGN 3.1 billion in January-November 2011 to BGN 3.6 billion for the same period in 2012. Meaning the export to Turkey increased by BGN 426 million. Bulgaria’s export to Macedonia decreased from BGN 835.8 million in 2011 down to BGN 714.4 million.
United Arab Emirates top Bulgaria’s export growth – by 176.5%. But the volumes prove to be much lower – from BGN 90.1 million (2011) to BGN 249.1 million (2012). Export to China marks a significant increase. For January-November 2011 it stood at BGN 484.1 million whereas for the same period in 2012 it ran to BGN 1.079 billion. The registered growth stands at 122.9%, NSI announced. Export to Russia increased only by 5.8% from BGN 983.6 million in 2011 up to BGN 1.041 million in 2012.
Import from third countries reached the volume of nearly BGN 19 billion. Compared to 2011 the increase is slightly less than BGN 1 billion.

11-02-2013 - AUSTRIANS TO COME FOR A DISNEYLANDLINK

Representatives of the Austrian company “Hoch invest Beterlings” arrive on Thursday in Plovdiv Municipality to meet the mayor Ivan Totev. The occasion is joint venture “Amusement park – Trakia” AD famous with its intention to build Disneyland between Bratskata mogila and the Rowing canal in the past. The letter informing this company is the new partner of the municipality was received last week. As “Maritza” has already informed it had purchased 75% share “Central Investment Group holding” AD – Luxembourg and “Financial and industrial group REI holding” AD – Sofia.
The joint venture was established with 140 000 square meters municipal land in 2002 but so far, there is no amusement park. I am interested to understand Austrian company’s intentions, said the mayor. The park does not allow any other building but light-construction attractions.

08-02-2013 - NEW INVESTOR FOR DISNEYLAND TO THE ROWING CANALLINK

Plovdiv Municipality shall have a new partner in the joint enterprise “Amusement Park – Trakia” AD which previously wanted to build Disnewland in the park between “Bratskata mogila” and the Rowing canal. The Austrian company “Hoch invest Beterlingst” – Vienna has informed Plovdiv Municipality that it negotiated to purchase the private share in the company and would like a meeting with the mayor. The letter is in English, we just received it and are about to study the company’s business activity, the mayor Totev informed. I suppose we would meet in two weeks.
Joint venture “Amusement park” was established in 2002 by Plovdiv Municipality and two private companies – “Central investment group holding” AD – Luxembourg and “Financial and industrial group REI holding” AD – Sofia. The company aims at building an amusement park, relatively called Disneyland. The municipality moved two plots of total area of 140 000 square meters in park “Recreation and Culture” against which it received 25% share. The rest 75% belong to private partners under the condition to build unseen attractions.
So far the intentions have not been realized and the attempts of the ex-local administration to cancel the partnership and retrieve the land suffered fiasco. I have no idea what is happening in this joint venture, admitted the mayor yesterday. He explained that so far he had 2 meetings with the representatives of the rest 75% share. Their investment intentions equal to zero, Totev commented. At the meeting with the Austrian company we will understand whether they are likely to invest in an amusement park. If their intention is good for the town, we would support them, the mayor assured.

08-02-2013 - PLOVDIV AIRPORT IN A PROJECT FOR 30m EUROLINK

Plovdiv Airport may win 30 m euro in an EC project for creating an international network of low-cost flight from towns developing congress tourism. That announced yesterday for “Maritza” Doychin Angelov, airport’s manager. The idea was discussed in Italy at the beginning of the month and the results will be known by the end of March.
Fair and congress tourism development with European financing lies at the base of the project for realizing an international network of low-cost flight for passengers and commercial goods. Four European countries with regional airports near fair towns, such as Plovdiv, shall participate. Plovdiv was chosen for Bulgaria, destinations in Romania, Italy and Albania are expected to be revealed. Upon project’s realization every airport shall receive 30 m euro for infrastructure improvement which is an integrated part of the general plan for Plovdiv airport development. The project is as per EC project with the leading country being Italy and envisages the construction of a cargo terminal with track expansion and parking lots, said Doychin Angelov.
Presently airport development fund debt to RayanAir is 65 000 euro. If it does not get paid, we fear two options, said Angelov. The first one is to cancel the regular airline flights. The second is the company to file a court case in London Court for more than 1 m euro. Opportunity costs and court case cost are to be calculated separately.

06-02-2013 - AGRICULTURAL LAND PRICE TRIPPLED, 1 000 sq. m. REACH 440 BGNLINK

Agricultural land price increased more than three times for the last 10 years – from BGN 140 in 2002 to 440 in 2012 per decare reveal the data of BASZZ (Bulgarian Association of Agricultural Land Owners). According to the statistics the greatest number of deals were sealed in the last year – nearly 129 000 or 1000 more than in 2011. The total are of the land sold is the record figure of 1.46 m decares equaling to one twenty-fifth of the total arable land in Bulgaria (37 million decares).
From 2003 to 2012 924 000 deals were sealed for 9.31 million decares. Meaning the average area per deal is nearly 10.07 decares. Statistics show this coefficient increased as well – from 10.54 decares in 2011 to 11.32 decares for 2012. The main reason is resale deals that are more than 50%. This is land purchased for the last 5 or 6 years.
BASZZ data reveal that rents also increased in 2012 – by 20% compared to 2011. The average rent in the agricultural 2012-2013 is 34 or 35 BGN/decare. Prognoses reveal that 2013-2014 shall mark a new 20% increase.
The reason more and more people decide to invest in agricultural land is quite simple. This is a market uninfluenced by the crisis and bringing stable revenues. In the last year significant was the deal between ELARG Fund for agricultural land and “Rompharm company” which purchased around 180 000 decares at average price of 500 BGN/decare. Greater part of the land is located in attractive regions –the biggest part near Yambol (more than 30 000 decares) and Pleven (more than 27 000 decares). The price is a little bit higher than the market price as the land is consolidated and consolidation creates additional costs. That was the biggest one-off deal in Bulgaria. And the buyer paid BGN 90 million was absolutely unknown company in the country – medicines trader. After the purchase “Rompharm” that had invested in agricultural land via other companies became one of the biggest arable land owners in the country. Sector representatives even define it as the biggest legal entity owner of arable land.

09-01-2013 - 09.01.13 CHINESE MEGACOMPANY TO INVEST IN PLOVDIV AND BURGASLINK

The second biggest information and communication technologies company in the world Huawei is planning to open a development center in Plovdiv and Burgas. The Chinese mega company intends to invest in a shared services center, announced econ.bg. The company’s annual turnover exceeds USD 35 b. Almost one third of world’s population uses, in one form or another, different products of the Chinese telecommunication equipment producer.
This is the second biggest company interested to invest in Bulgaria for the last few months. Automaker Build Your Dreams (BYD) has already successfully negotiated with the local “Bulmineral” the construction of a factory for electrical automobile and bus manufacture. It will be located in Brestnik. The American billionaire Warren Buffett has a minority share in BYD which is also listed at the stock exchange in Hong Kong. Buffett’s treasury is estimated at 62 billion USD.

In 2011 our export to the Asian country increased by 103.2% compared to 2010. Presently Bulgarian government prepares a new official visit in China, was announced yesterday. The Council of ministers needs to confirm in order to determine the exact date of the visit. Last, the Minister of economy and energy Delyan Dobrev visited China and presented Bulgaria as an appropriate place for business development.

08-01-2013 - "SISECAM" INVESTS AGAIN, THE GOVERNMENT SUPPORTS AGAINLINK

The government votes 1 m to support a project of 328 m BGN

Investment in the glass factory in Targovishte shall ensure 300 job positions.
“Trakiya Glass Bulgaria” is the first company to be directly refunded by the government for a part of the investment costs made.
The company which is a subsidiary of the Turkish company Sisecam shall invest new 328 m BGN in the construction of second assembly line for flat glass and second household glassware furnace. The new sites shall open 300 job positions. The prognoses reveal the project shall be put into exploitation in 2013.
The opportunity for the government to vote direct subsidies for investment costs exists for a long time in the Investment Promotion Act but till now no company has ever benefited from it. At the last briefing in 2012 the Council of Ministers voted the size of the governmental support for “Trakiya glass” to be 1 m BGN. The money shall be ensured by the budget of the Ministry of Economy.
This is a priority investment project and it steadily exceeds the ceiling of 100 m BGN above which the government can refund up to 10% of the investment costs made”, commented the spokesman of Invest Bulgaria Agency.
The factory in Targovishte

“Trakiya Glass Bulgaria” is one of the biggest newly-established enterprises in Bulgaria for the last decade. For the period from 2005 to 2010 the company invested 400 m BGN in greenfield investment. The Bulgarian subsidiary of the Turkish holding Sisecam produces auto glass, flat glass and mirrors. In 2005 in order to support the project the government granted “Sisecam” a plot of 1000 decares.
Besides, it provided about 9 m USD for the construction of infrastructure to the factory – railway line, new road, water pipe and gas pipe. A special governmental group provided support for accelerating the procedures of issuing all types of permits and licenses in relation to the new factory.
At the end of 2011 new nearly 25 m BGN were invested in the sites. Presently, an audited report on the investment made in 2012 is being prepared; according to the reposrt the investment exceeds 50 m BGN.
Can the government stay aside

By now the government promoted the investors by covering the costs for the construction of the infrastructure connecting one factory with the road network or financing the training of the future employees in the newly-established factories.
In order to promote investment activities in Bulgaria few years ago was adopted the Investment Promotion Act. The concrete measures for promotion and the terms under which a company can benefit from them are fully described in the Regulation on Implementing Investment Promotion Act. Its amendment in 2010 allows a direct refund of the costs made.

07-01-2013 - GERMAN INVESTOR TO PURCHASE 78 DECARES FOR A FACTORY

Plovdiv municipality is expected to seal s big deal at the beginning of the year. A German company producing air-conditioners for automobiles was proposed 78 decares municipal land in “Trakia” region for the construction of a factory. The negotiations started few months ago; the mayor Ivan Totev hopes that the German investor shall create new job positions. The mayor expects the final answer from the company by the end of January.
The evaluation of the land is 1 560 000 EUR, said the vice-mayor eng. Dimiter Katzarski. The investors have already made a geologic research. In case they agree to purchase the plot, the proposal shall be discussed by the municipal council. The last meeting was on 20th December. The good news is that along with the negotiations we managed to zone the plot in question as well as two other plots of total area of 200 decares behind “Santinelli”, shared eng. Katzarski. During the last mandate the former mayor of “Trakia” Ginyo Matev found this plot appropriate for a cemetery. Luckily, this did not happen because we are planning to develop this area as an industrial zone, explained eng. Katzarski. We will build the infrastructure and after that we will offer the land to Bulgarian companies, he added.
The budget for 2013 stipulates 4 m BGN revenues from regulatory deals with municipal property. Sale in “Trakia” is top priority. But even if the deal fails we will fulfill the programme, commented optimistically Katzarski. We continue selling municipal apartments even though as per the new regulations the tenants need to have been living in lodgings for at least 10 years in order to obtain such a right.

04-01-2013 - TOURISTS CALL PLOVDIV UP AND COMING CITY

“A place taking you to the past”, “Keeping the spirit of the times”, “Aristocratic, cosy and hospitable”, Magnifiscent city – the best one in Bulgaria”, “ Unique city, with nice people”, “A waft of antiquity”, “The most beautiful city with exclusive heritage, history and future”, “By my pocket”, “Unique city with numerous monuments and nice local people”, “Up and coming city”. This is only a decent part of the definitions given by Bulgarian and foreign tourists about Plovdiv who participated in an inquiry research carried out last year by Municipal enterprise “Tourism”. The data reveals that 99% of the participants gave positive opinion about “The city of the seven hills” and the four most emblematic and visited sites are The Old town, The Roman theatre, The Seven Hills and The Roman stadium whose popularity has significantly increased after its renovation.
All participants in the inquiry mark as a positive trend that archaelogical researches in the city still continue as well as the necessity of greater attention to the houses in The Old town. 27% of the Bulgarian tourists share that during their stay in the city they did not visit any cultural event but they would have liked to in case they had been preinformed. This percentage is even higher among the foreign tourists – 56%. That is the reason why a significantly small percentage of Bulgarian (12%) and foreign (8%) tourists point cultural events as something whey would recommend to their relatives and friends. On the contrary, the inquired participants hold on to the belief that Plovdiv is a city of arts and it is Bulgaria’s cultural capital. In this regard half of the participants were inquired about their opinion on Plovdiv being a candidate for European capital of culture in 2019 and they replied that Plovdiv is the most appropriate city.
All participating tourists reckon that it is necessary to continue the efforts on making the city cleaner as a whole and improving the touristic infrastructure.
GUESTS:
According to the research the greatest number of foreign tourists coming in Plovdiv is from Western Europe (58%), USA (10%), Balkans (9%) and Scandinavia (8%). Most of the people who visited Plovdiv even just passing through share their disappointment that they could not spend more time here as they had not been informed and prepared about the touristic services the city offers.
LANGUANGE BARRIER:
Foreign tourists find it extremely important to be well-informed in English. The language barrier serves as an obstacle for the normal lifestyle of the foreign tourists in Plovdiv. They face difficulties in the everyday activities such as buying tickets at the stations, using postal services, shopping, etc. All foreign participants in the inquiry share that in such cases touristic centers in the city serve as mediators for providing a large scope of services in order to overcome the language barrier.

03-01-2013 - 2.5 b EURO FOREIGN INVESTMENT

It is possible the total amount of investments in Bugaria in 2013 to reach 2 or 2.5 b euro. The preview is made by the executive director of Invest Bulgaria Agency (Borislav Sfetanov).
In 2010 foreign investments were around 1 b euro, in the year to follow they increased up to 1.7 b euro. In 2012 probably the amount will be around 2 b euro, Stefanov compared. According to the statistics in the previous year investments in Bulgaria were by 30% or 40% more than their amount in 2011.
The opportunity to compensate par of the labor costs is the most attractive incentive for Class “A” investors, shares IBA manager. Most of the companies we were working with for the last few months stated that such measures would make them choose Bulgaria among other competitive counties, he added. The last changes in the Investment Promotion Act stipulate the big companies to be able to return the costs on contributions for the newly-employed employees for 24-month period. The condition is to maintain the respective positions for at least 3 years for small and middle enterprises and at least 5 years for big companies.
Ministry of Economy analyses reveal that governmental costs on contributions are much less than the money that shall be received in case a big investor decides to invest in Bulgaria.

10-12-2012 - Coca-Cola Enterprises Moves Part of its Business to BulgariaLINK

US-based Coca-Cola Enterprises opens a center for financial services in Bulgaria, which will serve its activity in the markets in Western Europe. The information, which appeared informally about a month ago, was now confirmed for "Capital Daily" by a company spokesman. The American bottling company, which is one of the largest in the world, owns the rights to sell the drink in Western Europe and operates in seven countries in the region – Belgium, Luxembourg, Norway, France, the Netherlands and Sweden, and has no connection with The Coca Cola Hellenic Bottling Company, selling the brand in Bulgaria. Entering the Bulgarian market will happen by summer 2013.

The new financial center will be located in Sofia, but for now the company did not say exactly where it will be situated. Spokesman of Coca-Cola Enterprises said that the center will employ around 150 people. The company is already recruiting employees through two recruitment agencies: "Adecco Bulgaria" and "Manpower Bulgaria."

Reorganization

"The creation of a new center for shared services is a result of our decision to centralize and standardize our financial processes, which will allow us to provide more effective and efficient customer service, „ commented for "Capital Daily" the company spokesman. The activities of Coca-Cola Enterprises in Western Europe cover about 170 million customers. After reorganizing the new unit will continue to serve markets in the western part of the continent.

Information about a potential reorganization of the company’s activities appeared in some international media about a month ago, but until now there was no official confirmation. Back then the media department of the company commented for "Capital" that they have considered a proposal to open a single financial services center to serve its European business. "We are currently in consultation process with our employees and their union representatives and we have not yet decided. It is important to say that we respect the consultation process and we could not comment before the final decision is taken," the company stated then.

Consultations are necessary because in practice moving back-office company in Bulgaria would mean job losses in six countries. For the moment, however, the company did not specify how many the layoffs will be. The report for the third quarter of 2012 only shows that the total cost of the program for restructuring is estimated at $ 200 million. It is expected that the process will be completed by the end of 2014. "The goal of the program is to increase the efficiency of our sales teams, to improve operational efficiency, and to generate approximately $ 100 million in current benefits until 2015, enabling us to invest in our business and enhance our platform for long-term, sustainable growth,"the company said in the press release accompanying the announcement of the financial results for the quarter.

The new player

The establishment of Coca-Cola Enterprises in Bulgaria actually means the coming of an entirely new market player. In fact, the company is not connected in any way with the Greek Coca-Cola Hellenic Bottling Company, which holds the rights to sell the brand in Bulgaria and other countries in the region. For its part, Coca-Cola Enterprises does not have the rights to sell on the Bulgarian market, and according to the rules of Coca-Cola, it does not have the right to compete with the local distributor. Thus, the company, which is new to the Bulgarian market, will continue to sell only in the markets where it is already present.

Although its work is focused on serving markets in Western Europe, Coca-Cola Enterprises is actually based in the U.S. city of Atlanta, Georgia. Its shares are traded on the New York Stock Exchange as part of the S & P 500. The company has 17 production plants and 51 distribution centers in Europe.

For the third quarter of 2012 the company reported a net profit of 263 million dollars, or 89 cents per share. The financial result decreased from a year earlier, when it was 284 million dollars, or 88 cents a share, notes Reuters. The total volume of sales also decreased and by the end of September amounted to 2.07 billion dollars, which is 3.3% less than the same period of 2011. Strengthening of the dollar has significant effects on declining sales, notes Reuters.

05-12-2012 - Messina and Catania will host the European Volleyball Championship for Men in 2015LINK

The organization has been assigned to Italy and Bulgaria, which will host the final round jointly.

Italy and Bulgaria will host the European Volleyball Championship for men in 2015, after having won against the competition of Estonia and Finland. The continental event will be held in five cities: Varna, Plovdiv, Sofia, Messina and Catania. The final match will be held in Armeec Arena Hall in Sofia, which was already the site of the finals of the World Cup in July 2012. In Italy, another international event of the Women World Championship program will happen in 2014. "The fact that we were chosen to host the European Championship for men is another important recognition for our Federation, said the president of the Italian Volleyball Federation, Carlo Magri. Years of hard work are awaiting us, but I'm sure that will justify the confidence that the international institutions have again entrusted us with. Together with the Bulgarian federation will do our best to ensure that European Finals are a technical and organizational success. The 2015 European Championship for women will be organized by Belgium and Holland. (Reuters)

05-12-2012 - The Outsourcing Business Gets UnitedLINK

Bulgarian Outsourcing Association was founded today, 27.11.2012
The Bulgarian Outsourcing Association (БАА/BOA) was established today with the ambition to turn Bulgaria into an even more attractive destination for investment in the sector.
Among the founders are companies like AII Data Processing, Atos Bulgaria, Bulpros, Coca-Cola Hellenic Enterprise IT and Sofica Group.
The outsourcing industry will work towards reducing youth unemployment, in accordance with its plans for increasing three times the number of people employed in the sector over the next five years, said Stefan Bumov, CEO of Sofica Group, on Bulgarian National Radio earlier this morning. He stressed that companies should focus on cities outside Sofia in which there are universities. The meaning of this word derives from resources being extracted from places where their quality is higher.
Outsourcing is a sector in which investors are still interested, and usually we talk about jobs in the spheres of finance and accounting, said in a morning show of television and radio Bulgaria on Air Borislav Stefanov, Executive Director of the Bulgarian Investment Agency.
According to him, the creation of this association is a very good step.
Within a few weeks a major Western company investment which will create between 1500 and 2000 job positions will be announced, said Stefanov.
According to his words, two other companies show an interest, but are still in the process of choosing between Bulgaria and Romania.
Borislav Stefanov said that as of the end of September, there is about 250 million euro increase in foreign direct investment. He anticipates that, by the end of the year, FDI will account for 10-15% growth as compared to last year.
According to his words, the legal measures which Bulgaria offers to foreign investors are not sufficient and do not meet the requirements of the crisis. Furthermore, even if the law says that foreign investors who create jobs in our country will receive financial benefits – i.e. social securities of their employees to be covered by the state – there is no guarantee that the Ministry of Finance will decide to set this money aside, Stefanov explained.

04-12-2012 - CONFERENCE IN MILAN: “NEW INVESTMENT OPPORTUNITIES IN BULGARIA”

The conference “Investment opportunities in Bulgaria” was held on Wednesday, 7th November, near Hotel dei Cavalieri, in Milan and was organized by Living Law Ltd – a company specialized in business relocation projects.
The conference was attended by nearly sixty people – developers, managers and professionals, part of which were foreigners – interested in receiving the appropriate information about Bulgarian market. Due to the professional diversity of the attendees we are able to analyze the event from different viewpoints.
After the initial introduction, the President of Confindustria Bulgaria Pietro Luigi Ghia illustrated in front of the attendees the opportunities the country can offer, making one practical approach and particularly putting an emphasis on the successful developer practices. Then the Honorary Consul of Italy in Plovdiv commented on the opportunity for relocation of Italian companies in the country accentuating on the potential advantages originating from the law costs on labor and the good level of infrastructure in the industrial regions.
In order to lay special emphasis on the concrete investment opportunity and business establishment on Bulgarian territory, Alberto Anselmetto, manager of Bulgarstroy Engineering (a member of Confindustria Bulgaria) presented the project “Orizari Multicenter” – an industrial zone under development in close proximity to the town of Plovdiv. The project covers all characteristic features that turn the zone into one strategic location for Italian companies; the close proximity to the international connections and opportunity for new markets; diversity of services in the same geographic area; personal solutions to clients’ requirements; economic and fiscal facilitations.
The lawyer Antonio Palumbo, a partner in Living Law, engaged himself in analyzing Bulgarian fiscal system by putting an emphasis on the most competitive aspects for business establishment in the profitable reality of the Country. The presentation was completed by Dr. Luca De Marco and the attorney at law Salvatore Arcadipane, respectively in terms of the Italian – Bulgarian Convention and international agreements.
The event was closed by Dr. Federica Valente from Unicredit Bulbank who elaborated on the local bank system and financial services that can be offered to the companies interested in investing in Bulgaria.

22-06-2012 - China is interested in hydro projects in BulgariaLINK

On 22 June 2012, representatives of the Chinese company Sinohydro Group visited BCCI and met with the President of the Chamber and their Bulgarian colleagues working in the field of hydro power.

Lv Liushan, General Manager of the company briefly presented its activity. Established in 1950, Sinohydro Group is the largest organization developing hydro projects in China. The company works in 4 fields – design and construction of hydro power facilities, installation of hydro power plants, construction of infrastructure, investments in the field of hydro power. Currently the company is implementing 400 projects in 60 countries worth a total of USD 30 billion.

BCCI’s President Tsvetan Simeonov introduced the guests to the business conditions in our country and offered Sinohydro assistance for finding partners and projects in Bulgaria. The company seeks to start business in Europe and already has some experience in Serbia and Poland.

Mr. Eugeni Stantchev, Director of Business Development of Vaptech Ltd. and Dimitar Popov, Executive Director of Sweco Energoproekt also took part in the meeting. The two companies presented the hydro power sector and planned projects in Bulgaria and offered their expertise and help to the Chinese partners.

07-05-2012 - FREIGHT STATION IN ZLATITRAP

Freight station with customs terminal, administrative building and 12 railway lines shall be constructed in Zlatitrap. This terminal spreading on a total area of 69 000 sq.m. will be the new freight station where traders shall receive their goods in containers by trains, explained the mayor of the village – Rumen Lambin. The freight center shall be made according to the project “Construction of Intermodal Terminal in Central-South Planning Development Region in Bulgaria – Plovdiv” and must be completed by 2014, explained the mayor of Rodopi Municipality – eng. Plamen Spasov. Zlatitrap – the village located 3 km away from Plovdiv won the competition against the villages of Krumovo and Yagodovo.
The terminal shall be constructed at Todor Kableshkov station which is a part of the railway node Plovdiv and is located on the railway highway Sofia – Plovdiv. The very site shall take 69 000 sq.m. on the north side of the station in the region of Kamisha.
Few days ago Rodopi Municipality had an open public discussion with the people from the village. Private plots which are included in terminal’s Detailed Site Development Plan shall be expropriated.
According to the available information motor vehicles shall enter the terminal from the west using directly the republican road network without any risks of potential accidents in the truck and car traffic.
According to Decision 509/08.07.2011 by the Council of Ministers “Intermodal Terminal in Central-South Planning Development Region in Bulgaria – Plovdiv” was announced to be a project of national importance. During the construction of the terminal all the procedures related to the choice of a terminal exploitation operator are expected to be initiated. One of the necessary conditions for the exploitation of the freight center is the contact with the operator to be signed before the completion of the construction works in order for the chosen operator to supply and implement the required equipment and installations necessary for the terminal’s exploitation inclusive mobile cranes.
JOB POSITIONS
Almost 40 new job positions are expected to be announced vacant in the village of Zlatitrap after “Bella Bulgaria” AD realized its investment intention to construct a milk processig factory with capacity of 120 t per day. It shall be onstructed near the mill of the company in the village.

Source: "Maritza" newspaper 03.05.12/ YEAR XXI / 103 (6787)

28-02-2012 - INCREASE IN THE NUMBER OF BIOMASS PROJECTSLINK

“State and municipal buildings can be heated considerably more cost-efficient by the use of biomass,” said Ilko Yotsev, Executive Director of BioPower Jsc and former Deputy Minister of Energy, at a forum on the use of the raw material yesterday.

Business representatives demanded additional measures aimed at stimulating the use of the raw material for heating. “Currently, the project implementation is difficult, although heating with biomass is many times cheaper,” Yotsev explained. In addition, about 100 cities in the country could be supplied with heating energy by biomass plants.

According to data of the Ministry of Economy, Energy and Tourism (MEET), at present, applications for about 15 biomass projects with a total capacity of 68 MW have been submitted. “There are enough biomass projects, they have a huge effect, but their implementation is difficult and slow. So, they can not be a suitable solution at a time of economic crisis,” explained experts. They believe that this issue requires an appropriate state intervention. According to them the setting up of a prudent investment framework, approved by the MEET, the Ministry of Environment and Water and the Ministry of Agriculture and Food is needed.

For further information please read the original article on the link below:

13-12-2011 - A NEW AIRLINE FROM MOSCOW – PLOVDIV STARTS AFTER NEW YEAR’S EVE

A regular airline from Moscow to Plovdiv starts after New Year’s Eve till the end of March, announced the manager of Plovdiv Airport Doychin Angelov. Russian market increases, such a seasonal destination will be very attractive especially in the beginning of January when the Russians celebrate New Year’s Eve. The expectations are between 15 000 and 20 000 people to land in Bulgaria by charter flights alone but the exact number will be known in the spring. Plovdiv Airport stated that in 2011 the number of their passengers increased three times compared to their number in 2010. This year was successful one although we were forced to cancel the airline Milan – Plovdiv. Plovdiv Airport is expected to open at least one new airline in 2012 and beside “RayanAir” Plovdiv Airport is expected to introduce another airline company.

01-12-2011 - BUS LINES TO PLOVDIV AIRPORT

For every regular flight from the International Plovdiv Airport there will be organized bus transport, announced yesterday the vice mayor Alexander Darzhikov after the session of the commission in the region. The time schedule of the bus line Plovdiv – Asenovgrad shall temporarily include also buses to the Airport. At the same time there shall be a tender for the choice of a regular bus-line carrier, explained Darzhikov.

21-11-2011 - INTERMODAL TERMINAL PLOVDIVLINK

One of the main priorities in the long-term strategy for the railway infrastructure development is the development of a network of intermodal terminals. The Ministry of Transport and National Company “Railway Infrastructure” initiated the procedure of including the intermodal terminal near Plovdiv in the following program period of OP “Transport” in order to finance the project. In July 2011 the Council of Ministers in Bulgaria endowed this project with the status of a site of national importance. The indicative value of the project is estimated at 11,305 m EUR and the construction of the site is scheduled to start at the end of 2012.
The National Company “Railway Infrastructure” chose the union “NET Engineering – Transgeo” as a consultant and it has already prepared feasibility study, Costs and financial and economic Costs and Benefits Analysis and idea project for the stipulated site – railway station Todor Kableshkov, village of Zlatitrap. On the ground of these documents a Strategy for Public - Private Partnership (PPP) for the construction and exploitation of the intermodal terminal has been developed.
About the project:
Financing: OP “Transport”, axis 3: Improvement of the intermodality for the transportation of people and freights.
Indicative Value: 11.305 m. EUR
Time schedule – 2012 – 2013

COMPLETED:
1. Feasibility Study
2. Idea Project
3. Costs and Benefits Analysis
4. Strategy for Public and Private Partnership
5. Auction strategy and documents for construction assignment

IN PRECESS:
1. Approval of a Detailed Site Development Plan
2. Expropriation Procedures
3. Application Form for Financing

Terminal’s parameters according to the General Site Plan (Stage 1/ Stage2):
Total area - 68 870 m?, inclusive:
Stand-by zone - 7200 m?
Check-up Zone - 287 m?
Railway lines area - 6763 m? / 13 132 m?
Service zone - 27 677 m? / 43 601 m?
Green Zone- 26 665 m? /4372 m?
Sidewalk- 278 m?
New Road Connection - 3330 m?

16-11-2011 - MATCHING

From 21st November till 23rd November Bulgarstroy Engineering shall attend MATCHING, a business event organized by Compagnia delle Opere (ASSOCIATION “FRIENDS IN BUSINESS – BULGARIA”) which will take place on the Traditional Fair of Milan in the city of Rho. More than 2 500 companies from 40 carefully selected countries are expected to participate.
MATCHING is based on the prescheduled meetings between the participants and represents a fundamental event in the development of the business relations. For further information go to: http://www.e-matching.it/cdo/areaPubblica/home.seam .

11-11-2011 - NSI: 1,5% INCREASE IN THE INDUSTRIAL PRODUCTION

National Statistical Institute (NSI) revealed the preliminary data for the index of industrial production. According to the report in September industrial production increased by 1,5% on annual bases whereas the month increase is 1%.
In September 2011, the seasonally adjusted Industrial Production Index in the mining industry increased by 10.2%, in the manufacturing by 3.7%, while in the electricity, gas, steam and air conditioning supply - decreased by 7.2%.
The most significant increases of production in the manufacturing were seen in the repair and installation of machinery and equipment by 40.8%, in the manufacture of fabricated metal products, except machinery and equipment by 14.7%, whereas the manufacture of textiles decreased by 14,3%.
On annual bases Industrial Production Index in the mining industry grew by 7.7%, in the manufacturing by 2.7%, while in the electricity, gas, steam and air conditioning supply a decrease by 5.1% was seen.

11-11-2011 - INVEST BULGARIA: 129 INVESTMENT PROJECTS IN ONE CATALOGUELINK

Invest Bulgaria Agency published one catalogue including 129 potential investment projects in Bulgaria. Prepared by a team of experts in collaboration with the municipalities and private companies this document represents different projects divided into the following categories: tourism, production, urbanization, real estate, property, infrastructure, renewable resources, commerce and innovative projects.
The catalogue offers detailed information for every project, who developed the project, who the owners are, infrastructure, calculated value of the project and contact information, as well.
In order to see the catalogue, click on “Link”.

04-11-2011 - EVERY THURSDAY AND SUNDAY FLIGHTS TO FRANKFURT FOR ? 9.99

The first flight from Frankfurt to Plovdiv happened, 178 passangers landed at the airport near Krumovo ar 11 o’clock on Thursday. In the lobby they were welcome by a typical Bulgaria folklore song, loaf and salt for good luck. The welcoming people had filled in the parking lot to its full capacity; part of the lawn in front of the airport was dotted with scattered cars. The first to get off the RyanAir Boing were a husband and a wife at average age – the German family Clencke.
The new destination of the low-cost airline company shall be serviced every Thursday and Sunday. The first 1 million tickets will cost 9.99 EUR one way. People can book a ticket on RyanAir webiste. The days are very good for a shopping weekend in the German city.
Plovdiv municipality shall pay the annual fee to the Airport Development Fund, promised Ivan Totev, who was also celebrating the new destination. As the decision for Plovdiv Municipality to join the Fund was taken last year by the municipal councillors when the statute was approved, the ammount of 172 000 BGN shall be paid as soon as possible. Thus the intention of RyanAir to cancel the flights from Plovdiv Airport from 15th November shall not apply. The flights to London remain for sure but I am not optimistic about the flights to Milan, specified the mayor. Ivan Totev is convinced that beside London and Frankfurt there will be other destinations, probably to Northern Europe.
PLOVDIV AIRPORT MANAGER DOYCHIN ANGELOV: THE AIRPORT HAS WELCOME AND FAREWELLED 60 000 PASSANGERS
More than 60 000 passangers have taken off and landed at the Plovdiv Airport for less than one year. Just for and from London they were more than 40 000. Experts stated that every single guest in Plovdiv and in the region spent averagely between 300 and 400 EUR during the stay. The regular flights make a big economic impact on hotel and restaurant owners as well as traders, stated the director of Plovdiv Airport.
He reminded that the first flight to London was iniciated exactly one year ago. “I don’t know why but now I am even more excited than 1 year ago”, Angelov admitted. Before that the airport serviced just the winter charters for tourists which in 2007 brought barely 104 skiers.
RayanAir regular airlines were possible due to the Airport Development Fund which we established. None of the other airports in Bulgaria has such an association which is a unique and strong advantage. “Due to the imprecise attitude of Plovdiv Municipality that delayed the payment for the annual fund fee, we may have lost everything. There was a probability to cancel the flights on 24th October but we survived”, he reminded the critical situation.
Beside new airline destinations Doychin Angelov promised to think about the parking lot expansion. These days he will meet the new mayor of “Rodopi” Municipality to negotiate the procedure for receiving municipal land for new parking spaces.
RASMUSSEN PROMISED 50 MILLION EUR FOR A NEW HIGH-SPEED RAILWAY LINE
“One month ago a delegation from European Commission arrived in Asenovgrad and inspected the sites in process of construction with European financial means”, explained the ex-mayor of Asenovgrad, PhD Hristo Grudev. It was lead by the commissionaire Carlsten Rasmussen. After he inspected what have been done, he promised PhD Grudev to cooperate for the utilization of 50m EUR. They shall be spent on the construction of high-speed railway line that will connect Plovdiv Airport with Plovdiv and Asenovgrad. Such railway lines exist around every regular airport, why don’t you make the same, Rasmussen asked. PhD Grudev explained about the promise given, turning to Ivan Totev. The ex-mayor advised Doychin Angelov and Totev to take this opportunity and to organize a meeting with the European Commissioner as soon as possible.

19-10-2011 - NSI: THE BULGARIAN EXPORT IN EUROPE INCREASED BY 38,2%

National Statistical Institute (NSI) published the preliminary data regarding the Bulgarian export for the period January – July 2011. The report reveals an annual increase of 38,2% of the Bulgarian export to European Union. Its total value for the analyzed period amounts to 13.8 b BGN. Among the main partners are Germany, Romania, Italy, Greece and Belgium but the export to Malta, Portugal and Denmark also represents a significant growth.
With regard to the import, it increased by 20,2% and its total value for the analyzed period is 14,3b BGN, the transactions with companies from Malta and Lithuania are on the rise, as well.
Only in July the increase in the export was by 15,5%, whereas the import increased by 18,4%. In their report NSI announced a steady growth of the foreign trade in all sectors but mostly in the chemical industry and production.

12-10-2011 - SOFIA: STATIONS FOR CHARGING ELECTRICAL VEHICLES

As the Minister of the Economy, Energy and Tourism Traicho Traikov announced, in few weeks in Sofia the implementation of stations for charging electric vehicles shall start. At the same time the Minister expressed his intention to introduce incentives stimulating the purchase and utilization of electric vehicles such as exemptions from paying Value Added tax VAT, registration taxes abolishment and parking privileges. The minister also stated his desire to develop in long-term period a grand-scale project, like the one in Paris, for rent and exchange of ecological vehicles and bicycles.

30-08-2011 - BULGARIA: WITH THE LOWEST CONSTRUCTION COSTS IN EUROPE

According to the data published in a recent research by EC Harris, a London consultant company in the construction sector, construction costs in the Bulgaria are the lowest in Europe. This research, which takes into consideration materials and labor’s costs, reveals that Bulgaria is among the country with the lowest construction costs. The analyses provided by EC Harris take as a base data the prices in south-eastern Britain and divide the construction into 44 different categories. Among the 56 countries submitted to analyses only Ghana, Morocco, Tunisia, China, Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines and Vietnam have lower construction costs than Bulgaria. The first three countries with the lowest materials’ costs are Taiwan, India and Sri Lanka where the construction of a building may cost 4 times less than in south-eastern Britain. The countries with the lower labor costs are Pakistan and India. Switzerland is the country with the highest construction costs.

09-06-2011 - NEW OPPORTUNITIES FOR THE COMPANIES FROM PIEDMONT DISTRICT IN BULGARIA

On 29 June 2011 at 17:00 “Bulgarstroy Engineering” Ltd would present you the project “Orizari+”, in the Anowdy Hall in Congress Center Torino Incontra, 8 “Nino Costa”, str., Torino.
The purpose of the event is to present the investment perspectives in Bulgaria to those companies which are interested to delocalize their activity in this country of great economic development.
In the course of the event investment advantages shall be described: labor and production price, logistics and transportation conditions, low-cost specialized labor force, fiscal privileges and market opportunities
in the Balkan region, probable future problems that start-up companies may face.
We shall present the project “Orizari+” located on the area of 350.000 sq.m. in the region of one important production center, within the boundaries of the town of Plovdiv – one strategic destination for everybody who would like to develop production or commercial activity in Bulgaria.
Around 100 participants shall attend the conference; among them there are important developers and local industrial companies’ representatives.

Spokesmen:
Alberto Anselmetto – Executive Manager of “Bulgarstroy Engineering”;
Pier Paolo Gherlone – Representative of Confimprese North West and ConfApi;
Roberto Beruti -Sprint (Regional Department for Internationalization, Piedmont), part of Ministry of economic development,
Foreign Trade National Instritute, Unioncamere – Piedmont, Finpiemonte, Sace,
Simest.

Pietro Luigi Ghia – Chairmain of Confindustria Bulgaria
UniCredit Bulbank.
Guests:
Confartigianato Piemonte;
Commercial Chamber – Torino, foreign department.

YOU CAN REGISTER FOR THE EVENT BY SENDING YOUR NAME AND PHONE NUMBER TO THE FOLLOWING E-MAIL:
marketing@bulgarstroy.com by 25/06/2011

07-06-2011 - STOICHKOV OPENS AN ACADEMY IN ORIZARI

Bulgarian football superstar Hristo Stoichkov agreed to open an academy under his name in Orizari. This was announced yesterday when the Dagger together with his best-man – the administrative director of Locomotive, Atanas Uzunov, visited the sports complex of the European College of Economics and Management that is located in there. The training school will be a part of his project that achieved great success in Etropole. When the most successful students reach the age for university degree, they would have the chance to win a sport scholarship in the ECEM. “I want to open my own football academy like my project in Etropole. Plovdiv did not give me much because I left the town when I was very young. But now I can make a contribution to this town and I shall willingly make it. I want in the future this town to give birth to many talented children just like it used to be. I already agreed the academy to have my name”, Stoichkov said. After that he hugged one of his previous coaches – Peter Kakarski. “This guy together with Ogi Atanasov made me a football player. In the past they did not allow me to play for Botev. After 30 years I would have this chance. Probably with my friend Slavo (he refers to the coach of the ECEM Slavcho Horozov) would have been team-mates. Now we will be working on one project”, stated Stoichkov and he refused to comment the football game of the national football team against Montenegro. He received a reward by the lecturer in the ECEM Spas Garnevski on the occasion of the tenth anniversary of the college.
ECEM will organize a national football championship for students under the patronage of Hristo Stoichkov - that was announced yesterday on a meeting between the college representatives, i.e. Spas Garnevski and Ivan Sokolov and Bulgarian football superstar Hristo Stoichkov.
The championship is devoted to the 10th anniversary of the ECEM and the football teams of several Bulgarian universities and colleges will take part in it. The meetings shall take place on the stadium in the ECEM’s sport complex in the village of Orizari. The final game for the cup of the championship is scheduled for 10th October when the college would host more than 3 000 guests in the International Fair hall on its anniversary.

07-06-2011 - THREE COMPANIES WOULD OPERATE ON THE RAILWAY TRACE SEPTEMVRI – PLOVDIV

RENOVATION OF THE RAILWAY LINE SHOULD BE COMPLETED BY THE END OF 2013

National Railway Infrastructure Company announced the results for the operators on the railway trace Septemvri – Plovdiv within the stipulated one-month term since the opening of the offers on 9th May 2011. It was made for the three positions in the public work.
The first trace – renovation of the trace Septemvri – Pazardzhik will be constructed by Unification “Svitelski – RVP Kione”, Sofia which took the first place with the price of 57.083 m BGN and 30 points in the technical offer. This consortium participates in all the classifications. “Svitelski” operates on the Balkans. Along with “Alpine” they are renovating the railway lines in Bosna, it also supports the trace Bucharest – Kampina in Romania. “Svitelski” participated in the both auctions for the railway highway “Trakiya”. For this position the lowest offer belongs to the Spanish and Bulgarian unification company “IGI Railway Infrastructure” - 47.533 m BGN but the Commission regarded it as dumping.
The second place was taken by “Porr Technobau und Umwelt” AD, Austria.
The commission put Unification “Azvi – SPH”, Sofia on the third place.
The company “CMC” – “Akmar” gave lower price than “Azvi – SPH” but technical evaluation of the Italian company is 27, less than 30 point which is the maximum.

The second trace of the railway line Pazardzhik – Stamboliyski was given to DZZD “IGI railway infrastructure” Varna. Their price is 49.843 m BGN and they have 30 points in the technical offer which guarantees them the first place. The unification consists of “Gea 21 Group” – a Spanish holding that have representative offices also in Romania, Spanish IGI and the Bulgarian “Engstroyengineering” which is making the construction according to OP “Regional Development”, has completed a project on the programme “Transit Roads”, supports road traces in Varna.

On the second place is consortium “Svitelski –RVP Kione”, Sofia.
On the third – Unification “CMC – Akmar Joint Venture”, Italy.

The third position is for the renovation of the railway trace Stamboliyski – Plovdiv. Here the first place belongs to “Porr Technobau und Umwelt” AD, Austria with the price of 50.934 m BGN and 30 points for the technical offer. This is the first railway auction in which the company takes place after it unsuccessfully objected the choice of the Greek company “Terna” for the trace “Krumovo – Parvomaj. The company participated also in road auctions in Bulgaria. In the country it was registered as “Porr Bulgaria” Ltd. Beside in Austria the company constructs and has representative offices in Germany, Switzerland, it has participated in a public and private partnership for the construction of highway M6 in Hungary in 2006. It also has representative offices in Central and Eastern Europe. The company is well-experienced in the construction of tunnels, roads, railway lines and in project management.
The second place belongs to the unification “Azvi – SPH”, Sofia.
The third place is taken by the consortium “Svitelski – RPV Kione”, Sofia.

Contracts with executors shall be signed after the statutory appeal term expires.
The executors are expected to complete the sites by the end of 2013. After the renovation the possible speed shall vary between 160 and 200 km/h.
The trace Septemvri – Plovdiv is part of the project Sofia – Plovdiv and is included in OP “Transport”. The construction of other two traces from Sofia to Elin Pelin and from Elin Pelin to Septemvri shall remain for the next programme period.

Position 1: Septemvri – Pazardzhik – Consortium “Svitelski – RVP Kione”, Sofia, 57.083 m BGN 30 points.

Position 2: Pazardzhik – Stamboliyski DZZD “IGA Railway Infrastructure”, Varna 49.843 m BGN 30 points.

Position 3: Stamboliyski - Plovdiv “Porr Technobau und Umwelt” AD, Austria 50.934 m BGN 30 points.

06-06-2011 - APPLICANTS FOR THE RAILWAY PLOVDIV – SEPTEMVRI ARE CONFIRMED

Today at 10 o’clock in the building of NRIC on 10, “Maria Luiza” str. the general manager of NRIC appointed a commission to reveal the offers for correspondence evaluation and construction supervision of the project “Renovation of the railway trace Septemvri – Plovdiv – part of the Pan-European railway network”.
The subject of the public works is: “Renovation of the railway trace Septemvri – Plovdiv” as with defined positions as they follow:
Position 1: Renovation of the railway trace Septemvri – Pazardzhik including the railway stations of Septemvri and Pazardzhik.
Position 2: Renovation of the railway trace Pazardzhik – Stamboliyski including the railway stations of Ognyanovo and Stambolijski.
Position 3: Renovation of the railway trace Stamboliyski – Plovdiv including the railway station of Todor Kableshkov
Applicants can participate for the whole work.
Main criteria for offers evaluation is the lowest price.
The renovation of the railway trace Septemvri – Plovdiv is a part of the Pan – European Railway Network and is motivated by the fact that our railway infrastructure should meet the requirements for operative compliance with the Pan-European railway lines and as a part of them should meet the requirements for railway infrastructure operative compliance. The main goal of the project is to achieve operative correspondence and a speed of 160 km/h.
• The project for correspondence evaluation and construction supervision has indicative budget of 10 611 795 EURO without VAT.
• The requirement for the construction of high-speed railway lines would remove all railway crossings on the line so the cross-sections between railway lines and motor vehicles would be by subways or tunnels.
• The project shall be financed by the EU Cohesion Fund via Priority Axis 1 in the OP “Transport” 2007-2013. The executive body of the OP “Transport” is the Ministry of Transport, information technologies and communications. NRIC is a beneficiary on this project.
• This project shall contribute for the execution of the arrangements Bulgaria took for the development of the railway infrastructure, meeting the European standards in compliance with EU policy and the stable development of the Pan-European transport networks.

10 companies submitted offers for participation in the auction. They are:

1. Axiona Inchenearea – Sofia
2. MOTT McDonald Ltd Great Britain – Sofia
3. Consortium “Prato – Rubicon” – Sofia
4. “Eptisa” – Sofia
5. Consortium “Infram – SGS” – Sofia
6. Consortium “EPG – ETE”
Eisenban und Bauplanungs Gmbh
ET “LТrans Еngineering – BM” – Sofia
7. “Tipsa – NRConsult” – Sofia
8. “EPEK Consult” DZZD – Plovdiv
9. DZZD “Getinsa – Rafailov” – Sofia
10. Consotium “Luiz Berger – Pioiri – Infraproject” – Sofia

25-05-2011 - APPROVED MODIFICATIONS IN THE LAW ON ROAD INFRASTRUCTURE

Government approved the draft modifications in the Law on Roads which stipulates the creation of one National Company for Infrastructure Projects. Beside the realization of strategic infrastructure projects, its goal is to accelerate the process of the construction of the following highways: Struma, Hemus and Cherno more. Struma highway will connect Sofia with the Greek border and shall be completed by 2015; Hemus highway will connect Sofia with Varna and the Black sea coast and it should be inaugurated in 2020, whereas Cherno more highway shall offer one direct connection between Varna and Burgas.
Moreover, The Council of Ministers took a decision that from 20 May to 30 September the traffic of heavy-freight motor vehicles on the highways and republic roads shall be banned between 16:00 and 22:00 on the last working day of the week or preholiday day and on the last day of the weekend or holiday day. This ban includes also agricultural vehicles, tractors, machines in the construction sector, whereas the only exclusions concern the transportation of perishables and alive animals.

25-05-2011 - FUTURE AILINE TURKEY-BULGARIA

The Turkey vice Prime Minister Bulent Arinc announced that very soon one airline between Bursa and Bulgaria would be established and it would operate under Turkish Airlines. Still, there are no clear details about this destination from Bulgarian airports, nor in relation to the flights.

16-05-2011 - ROAD INFRASTRUCTURE CONSTRUCTION TO BE CONTINUED

During the ceremony for the opening of the highway Lyulin which would connect Sofia ring-road with the international road E-79 in direction to Greece the Minister of the regional development and public works Rossen Plevneliev announced that in the next 2 years Trakiya highway and Maritza highway would be completed and opened as well. The first one which would be completed in June 2012 will connect Sofia and Burgas, whereas Maritza highway which will be ready in 2013 will serve as a connection between Trakiya highway and the Turkish border through the town of Svilengrad.
The Council of Ministers stated that highway construction would be one of the most important priorities for the country.

13-05-2011 - RENOVATION OF RAILWAY LINE PLOVDIV – BURGAS - INITIATED

Yesterday the ceremony for opening the construction site of the repair and renovation works of the railway line Plovdiv – Burgas took place in close proximity to the railway station of Kaloyanovets (Stara Zagora region). The opening was attended by the Prime Minister Boiko Borisov, the Minister of Finances – Simeon Diankov and the Minister of Transport – Alexander Tsvetkov, the Italian Ambassador – Stefano Benazzo and the Administrative Delegate of GCF Edoardo Rossi. From Confindustria Bulgaria participated the president Ghia, the director Cassi and the territorial representative Todorov. The honorable consul of Italy in Stara Zagora Buzzeti attended the opening, as well.
While opening the ceremony the administrative delegate of GCF Rossi pointed out that the company is well aware of the project significance and would not save its efforts to realize the project at its best. The ambassador Benazzo highlighted the importance of the cooperation on the behalf of Bulgarian Authorities for project’s realization emphasizing on the preparation and the great willingness of GCF for meeting and work. In the end, the Prime Minister Boiko Borisov announced that the project would be beneficial not only for the economy of this region but for the economy of the whole country and reminded the great obligation of the government to continue with the infrastructural projects.
The auction for the works was assigned to a consortium formed by an association of Confindustria Bulgaria GCF (Generali Costruzioni Ferroviarie/General Railway Construction) and the Bulgarian companies SK12 and Trace Group. This project shall be financed by the European Funds stipulated in Operational Programme on Transport and would create 600 new job positions. The total value of the project is around 187 m euro and the works shall be completed in 3 years. Repair and renovation works would allow the trains to develop a speed of about 160 km/h, the present being about 100 km/h, and would shorten the time for travelling between Plovdiv and Burgas by about 70 minutes.

11-05-2011 - HIGH-SPEED RAILWAY LINE BUGARIA-TURKEY

According to Suleiman Caraman, general manager and president of the Council of the Turkish National Railway Company, Bulgaria and Turkey are discussing the possibility for the realization of a high-speed railway line between Sofia and Edirne. According to what Mr. Caraman specified the Transport Ministers of both Governments would like to initiate negotiations and Turkey is ready to launch the project whereas on the Bulgarian behalf they are still evaluating but they realize the benefits as the high-speed railway line would be a great opportunity for the development and facilitation of the transport and relations between both countries. Moreover, Caraman highlighted that this project was included in the plans of the Turkish government for the improvement of the Turkish connections with the Central European Zone and that after the end of 2011 they would initiate the high-speed railway line between Edirne and Istanbul.

01-02-2005 - TURKISH BUSINESS IN THE BSEC REGIONLINK

BULGARIA
During the last decade, economic relations between Bulgaria and Turkey have been continuously improving. The legal and regulatory framework on the intergovernmental level is a full and comprehensive one. This is due to the active dialogue between two countries.

According to the latest data released by the Bulgarian Agency for Foreign Investment, Turkey is the 13th largest investor country in Bulgaria. The total amount of Turkish direct investment in Bulgarian economy is nearly $150 million. The constant improvement could be clearer considering the zero amount of Turkish direct investment in the country in the year of 1992.

Investments
Soda Sanayi, the main raw material supplier of Turkey’s glass conglomerate ?i?ecam Group, has a partnership with the world’s largest soda producer, the Solvay Group from Belgium, in the Bulgarian producer Sodi-Devnya since 1997. The plant in Bulgaria has an annual production capacity of 1.2 million tons and Soda Sanayi has the rights to 25% of production.

Another subsidiary of the ?i?ecam Group, Trakya Cam, is also investing in Bulgaria. The company is currently constructing a glass plant in the Targovishte region. The construction has commenced in July 2004 and the plant will produce glass and glass products.

?i?ecam Group plans to carry out greenfield projects in Bulgaria, which include the construction of two sheet glass factories. It is said that there are conditions for the construction of a facility for household glassware in Bourgas.

S?zer Holding acquired 87.5% shares of the biggest paper mill in Bulgaria through the privatisation program. The mill is located in Nikopol, at the shores of the Danube River.

Other production facilities include Maser Holding’s textile plant producing woollen fabrics and linen in Sofia, Aksan Kal?p’s conductor plant in Botevgrad, Faf Metal’s aluminium and metal processing plant in Shumen and the Trikom textile plant in Haskovo. Furthermore, Nurinvest, a Turkish-Bulgarian JV, is involved in a wide range of production areas including food, furniture and carpets.

Turkish companies are also investing in the tourism industry of Bulgaria. ?zkan Group has purchased the “Novotel Europa” in Sofia and the group’s chain of “Princess Hotels” is also operating in Plovdiv. Magic Life has leased a tourism complex on the Black Sea coast and the company is currently renovating it.

Ramstore, the Turkish retail store chain, which is operating dozens of supermarkets and other shopping centres throughout Southeast Europe and the former Soviet Union, has 3 stores in Bulgaria. Ramstore has lately decided to increase its investment in Bulgaria and the chain is also selling Bulgarian products through its stores in Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan and Russia.

Aygaz is running 5 gas stations in Bulgaria with 3 of them located in Sofia and the other 2 in Shumen.

Two Turkish banks are active in Bulgaria. The Sofia branch of Ziraat Bankas? was opened in July 1998. Demirbank Bulgariawas established in 1999 and it is offering services through two branches in Sofia and one in Varna.

Contracting Services
Turkish contracting services in Bulgaria are to some extent linked to the energy trade between the two countries. There is a power line between Bulgaria and Turkey with a capacity of 500 MW. An intergovernmental agreement states Bulgaria’s commitment to award infrastructure projects to Turkish companies in return for the electricity bought by Turkey. Within this framework, Ceylan Holding has undertaken the construction of a 160 km highway on the East-West Corridor, a power plant in Gorna Arda and the urban power distribution networks in Pazardjik and Harmanli. Other important infrastructure projects undertaken by Turkish companies in Bulgaria include the Podkovo-Makozo Highway by Hazinedaro?lu ?n?aat, Karnobat-Burgaz Highway by the Do?u?-Eko consortium and the water purification project in Gorna Oriahovista, Dolna Oriahovista and Laiskovets undertaken by MNG Holding and financed by the European Union.

Prospects for Cooperation
The overall picture in Bulgaria shows that despite progress in recent years in liberalisation and macroeconomic stabilisation, there are still many barriers to investment in the region: a large unfinished reform agenda, cumbersome bureaucracies and corruption.

However, it is possible to say that the investment climate is improving rapidly thanks to the measures taken by the new Bulgarian government. Investors are enjoying advantages such as economic stability, low inflation, national treatment for foreign investments, liberal regime for repatriation of after tax profit and capital and foreign investments are no longer subject to registration etc.

Shortcomings in Bulgaria can be transformed into opportunities, if the correct areas of activity and appropriate partners are chosen. Bulgaria lacks export- oriented FDI, and is also not attracting sufficient greenfield investment. Most of the FDI in the region is concentrated in labour-cost areas and low value added industries.

Turkish businesses see a great potential in the privatization program of Bulgaria. They have already expressed interest in several items in the privatization portfolio, such as paper mills, military industry facilities, machinery manufacturing factories, hotels, etc. They can establish partnership with companies from third countries in order to create synergy and produce fruitful results, as seen in ?i?ecam’s partnership with a Belgian company.

Furthermore, it has to be kept in mind that Bulgaria is looking forward to 2007 as its EU accession date. It is already enjoying preferential access to EU markets, and moves are also on the way to liberalise Balkan intra-regional trade. Balkan states are also not constrained by EU rules forbidding special incentives to FDI. Turkey is sharing a land border with Bulgaria which is a great advantage when doing business there.

- CLIFF WALLACE: WE ARE LOOKING FOR PARTNERS LIKE THE INTERNATIONAL FAIR

• Your support is very important for the Chinese business on its way to Europe
Plovdiv International Fair can serve as a bridge for the Chinese business which is on the search for partners in Europe and most of all on the Balkans. This is what Cliff Wallace stated – executive manager of the Congress and Exhibition Center in Hong Kong when he visited Plovdiv last weekend. He arrived as a response to Hristina Koleva’s invitation, Manager of the Bulgarian pavilion in EXPO 2010 in Shanghai.
Wallace discussed with the Fair Management Body the possibility for cooperation between the exhibition centers in Plovdiv and Shanghai.
“I am impressed of what I saw here. It deserves lobbying for future partnership in front of the Council for commercial development. This is a governmental organization which consults the Chinese government in the field of economic relations. We are looking for fairs like yours that can support Chinese companies ready to invest in Europe”, Wallace added. He is the ex-president of the International Association of the Exhibition Industry UFI.
“Plovdiv Fair has a very good representation body in UFI. This is what brought me to visit the exhibition which is among the first members of the organization established 75 years ago. I am pleasantly surprised to see a fair located on such a spacious area with so clean and vast green areas and parks. And the calm atmosphere bears a full contrast to other European exhibition centers where business and tension dominate.
Another great advantage is the close proximity to the town center. Taking also into consideration the 120 year history of the fair that can serve as an example for many other world exhibition centers, it’s worth UFI to direct its attention to exactly this zone so that the exhibition can reap even greater success. With these words Cliff Wallace summarized his impression after one-hour walk in the complex. He highlighted the utmost importance of the public-private partnership as a successful formula for business development and put and emphasis on the fact that Plovdiv Fair is a very good example.
Wallace also explained that despite the negative impact of the world economy and financial crisis on the fair industry, he feels optimistic for the future of this business. Crisis spared Asia the most. Africa and Middle East also did not suffer great impact. The biggest impact was felt in North America and Great Britain which are the zones that register the slowest crisis overcome. “Europe, which was also hit by the crisis, would recover faster than USA”, expects the director of the Fair in Hong Kong. According to his words, the positive effect of the crisis is that it served as a good lesson how to properly manage your business during recession.
The Manager in chief of the International Plovdiv Fair – Ivan Sokolov – commented that the future cooperation initiatives with Hong Kong and Russia as partners during the Technical fair in the autumn would prove to be beneficial. The common exhibitions would give to our clients and partners the opportunity to expand their business in regions which prove to be very prospective in the present economic situation, Sokolov assured.
Cliff Wallace stated he would like to visit Plovdiv Fair once again during one of the following exhibitions so that he can gain experience in the logistics. He promised that he would organize his next (third) trip to Bulgaria so that he can participate in the Rose Festival.

- FLIGHTS TO FRANKFURT FOR 27.99 EUR

• “Ryanair” opens a third regularairline every Thursday and Sunday on 3 November.

“On 3rd November “Ryanair” would start a new airline from Plovdiv Airport”, announced the manager of the airport Doychin Angelov exclusively for “Maritza”. Along with the destinations to London and Milan the regular lines of the low-cost company “Rayanair” would be three.
The route Plovdiv – Frankfurt Hahn would be serviced twice a week – every Thursday and every Sunday. “This would be the first destination from Plovdiv to Germany and it will reap a huge success, for sure”, these are the common expectations from the airport.
From today on the website of “Ryanair” www.rayanair.com people can find the new route with one-way fare prices starting from only 27.99 EUR, all taxes inclusive, announced Katardzhina Gaboretz, “Rayanair”’s executive manager of “Marketing and Sales” department for Central and Eastern Europe.
Plovdiv - Frankfurt Hahn is an excellent destination which complements the network of the other 49 low-cost routes from the German city.
Now it is the best time to buy a ticket and visit the famous Christmas sales in November in the region of middle Rhine, the low-cost Irish company advises.
The region is incredibly impressive, popular with its old towns from the Middle Ages, castles, majestic houses and legendary Lorelei rock.

- CONFERENCE IN TURIN: “BULGARIA: NEW OPPORTUNITIES FOR COMPANIES FROM PIEDMONT REGION”

Last Wednesday in Einaudi hall in Congress Center “Torino Incontra” a conference took place: “Bulgaria: New opportunities for the companies in Piedmont region”. Bulgarian market was analyzed from different points of view in front of 60 developers who are interested to receive punctual and detailed information. After the welcoming regards the Chairman of Confindustria Bulgaria – Pietro Luigi Ghia listed the opportunities which the country can offer, adopting a practical approach and accentuating on the respective aspects of the separate steps towards success in enterprising. He was followed by Petya Zheleva, a representative of Diacron Consultants – a member of Confindustria Bulgaria, who presented the characteristic features of the fiscal system in Bulgaria, pointing out the most competitive aspects when establishing a profitable business in the country. After that the organizer of the event – Alberto Anselmetto, manager of “Bulgarstroy Engineering” presented to all of the guests the project “Orizari Multicenter” – one industrial zone under development in close proximity to the town of Plovdiv.
The event was closed by Pietro Oresta, a representative of “Unicredit Bulbank”, who gave further information about the financial services to provide support for the companies.

- EUROPEAN COMMISSION GIVES 218 m EURO FOR THE RAILWAY LINE PLOVDIV – BURGAS

European Commission approved the financing of the project for renovation and modernization of the railway line Plovdiv – Burgas. The approved amount is 218 611 929 EUR, of which up to 174 889 543 EUR would be co-financed by the Cohesion fund of the European Union.
The project for renovation of the railway line for the sections between Plovdiv and Burgas is divided into three positions which include the following tracks: Mihaylovo – Kaloyanovo; Stara Zagora – Yambol and Zavoy – Zimnitza; Tzerkovski – Karnobat.
The executor of the three tracks was chosen to be consortium “GCF – Sk 13 – Trace railinfra” which offered to construct the trace for 316 968 850,42 BGN without VAT. The construction started on 11 May and after the decision of the EC the costs already made shall be reimbursed by Operative Program “Transport”.

- CONSTRUCTION OF THE TERMINAL IN PLOVDIV – IN PROCESS OF PREPARATION

The intermodal terminal in Sofia shall not be constructed during the present programme period – that was announced by the National Company Railway Infrastructure (NKZI).

The indicative evaluation of this project is 52m EUR. NKZI announced that they have already had negotiations with the authorities in Brussels in order to redirect these funds to other projects. Thus the intermodal terminal in Plovdiv will stand a chance because by now it was not very clear whether it could be financed in this programme period of the Operative Programme “Transport”. In the summer this project was announced to be of national importance which would lead to significant facilitations of the procedures of lands’ expropriation. The indicative evaluation of this terminal is 11,305m EUR and the period for the construction of the base infrastructure is one year - from 2012 to 2013. Presently, the site has been chosen after long negotiations with the municipality – the place is station Todor Kableshkov, village of Zlatitrap. Presently, the team is working on PUP elaboration, lands’ expropriation and the preparation of the application form. Also, a realization strategy via public-private partnership and European funds has been prepared.

The best option according to the experts in NKZI is to get the financial means for the construction of the base infrastructure from Operative Programme “Transport” and during the construction an operator shall be chosen. The operator shall provide the equipment and the whole logistic activity of the terminal and the operator shall exploit it for a certain period of time. It’s possible to attract the interests of foreign investors for concession which is a good opportunity for NKZI. NKZI announced that they do not have experience in such activity and that is why they would not operate on the terminal.

Official Source: Internet Magazine “Logistics”

- BUS LINES TO PLOVDIV AIRPORT

For every regular flight from the International Plovdiv Airport there will be organized bus transport, announced yesterday the vice mayor Alexander Darzhikov after the session of the commission in the region. The time schedule of the bus line Plovdiv – Asenovgrad shall temporarily include also buses to the Airport. At the same time there shall be a tender for the choice of a regular bus-line carrier, explained Darzhikov.

- FLIGHTS PLOVDIV – MOSCOW: THREE TIMES PER WEEK

During the whole winter season there were and there will be regular flights three times per week from Plovdiv Airport to Moscow, announced the manager of the airport Doychin Angelov. This line shall exist just for the season and it was scheduled to be only once per week. We thought that there would be more tourists just for New Year and the holidays but it turned out that they are constantlt interested in coming here, commented Angelov. The flights are on every Thursday, Sunday and Monday and these tourists benefit from the opportunity of skiing at Pamporovo resort. This season proves to be quite successful, only in January more than 12 000 tourists used Plovdiv Airport.