Archive for April, 2004

Borislav Boyanov & Co. establishes a Brussels office in cooperation with leading law firms

Monday, April 26th, 2004

On 26 April 2004 a Cooperation Agreement was concluded by eight leading Central and Eastern European law firms including Borislav Boyanov & Co, Иechovб Rakovskэ from the Slovak Republic, Klavins & Slaidins from Latvia, Kociбn Љolc Balaљtнk from the Czech Republic, Kovбcs Reti Szegheo from Hungary, Lepik & Luhaддr from Estonia, Lideika, Petrauskas, Valiunas ir partneriai from Lithuania, and Wardyсski and Partners from Poland. Together, the firms count over 200 lawyers providing services operating in English, German, Russian, French, Spanish and other languages, in addition to their respective national languages.

One of the immediate objectives of the participants is to build on the existing Central European Law Office in Brussels that has been developed by Wardynski & Partners, Kocian Solc Balastik and Cechova Rakovsky since 2001.

The parties to the Agreement aim to serve their clients better by cooperating on a broader regional basis, and mainly in the new and future EU Member States.

The law firms anticipate that their joint work will be mainly focused on the relevant areas of EC law, including Competition, Regulatory Issues, State Aid and Litigation. At the same time, the Brussels presence will enable the parties to provide their clients with direct information on the policy and legislative changes projected by the European Commission.

For more information, please refer to the enclosed Press Release.

BTC’s Privatization Postponed with 60 Days

Monday, April 19th, 2004

The Bulgarian Privatization Agency announced on April 19, 2004 that the finalization of the Bulgarian telecom’s privatization is put off 60 days as of April 20, 2004. Both parties agreed to the adjournment due to the delay by the competent bodies to submit their positions on the awarding of the third GSM license – one of the crucial conditions of the privatization transaction. The Bulgarian Commission on Protection of Competition (“CPC”), currently dealing with the issue after last week’s letter of the Supreme Administrative Prosecutor’s Office, intends to consult the Competition Directorate General at the European Commission on the non-bidding process of the GSM award. The CPC should decide on the issue within the legally prescribed term of two months. Only then the Communications Regulation Commission shall be able to grant or deny the GSM licence.

GSM Licence for BTC In Question

Thursday, April 15th, 2004

The Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Transport Nikolay Vassilev recently announced that BTC was likely to obtain the third GSM licence in a couple of months. Otherwise the closing of the telecom’s privatization would be questionable as the GSM award is one of the material parameters of the deal. On the other hand, it emerged that the Supreme Administrative Prosecution’s Office has taken the view, in a letter to the Bulgarian Commission on Protection of the Competition, that the issue of the third GSM license to BTC without tender or auction would breach the constitutional principle of equal treatment of all economic subjects and the competition law. The Competition commission said that it would pronounce within the legally prescribed term of 2 months.

Bulgaria Approaches the EU Public Procurement Rules

Thursday, April 15th, 2004

The Bulgarian Parliament adopted on March 24, 2004 a new Law on Public Procurement which is styled with the principles laid in the respective Directives of the EU regulating the public procurement procedures. With some exceptions the law is effective as of October 1, 2004 and provides for some material changes in the currently applicable public procurement rules:

i. Deliveries, services and constructions continue to be subject of public procurement. According to the new law the deliveries include purchase, leasing, as well as preliminary activities necessary for the goods to be put into operation. The services subject to public procurement are explicitly stated in the law. Construction, except for building and city-constructing activities, includes also engineering, building and mounting activities listed in the law.

ii. The minimal thresholds for obligatory initiation of a public procurement proceeding are tripled: for construction contracts – BGN 1.8 mln; for supply transactions – BGN 150,000; for services – BGN 90,000 and for a project competition – BGN 30,000 (VAT excluded in all amounts). The law provides for higher thresholds when the place of performance is out of Bulgaria.

iii. Security deposit which should be delivered by the approved candidates in the procurement proceedings is reduced from 10% to 5%.

iv. The new law provides for additional procedures for a public procurement assignment – negotiation procedure which may be carried out with or without publishing of announcement for the procedure and a competition procedure for a project.

v. More detailed rules are introduced for the methods of estimation of the procurement price, for the requirements towards the bidders and their qualification proving documents and the offer .

vi. The law envisages the establishment of a Public Procurement Agency and a special arbitration court to hear public procurement disputes.

vii. Special rules for public procurements assignments by companies operating in the public utilities sector are provided for.

The Term of the Final Stage for the Privatization of the Electricity Distribution Utilities Prolonged

Friday, April 9th, 2004

The Privatization Agency announced on April 8, 2004 a prolongation of the term of the conclusive stage for the privatization of the electricity distribution utilities made upon a request of the bidders. As a result the deadlines are extended as follows:

i. May 3, 2004 – submission of comments connected to the deal’s project documentation;

ii. 25 May, 2004 – delivery of the revised deal’s documentation and the questions and requests related to the tender procedure;

iii. till June 18, 2004 – period for due diligence;

iv. till 12:00 a.m. on June 25, 2004 – deadline for participation deposit delivery; and

v. till 2:00 p.m. on June 25, 2004 – submission of the binding offers.

The Privatization Agency to Sell Hydro Plant

Wednesday, April 7th, 2004

The Privatization Agency (“PA”) announced an open-bid privatization procedure for the sale of the Batoshevo cascade. The facility includes two hydro-power plants (“HPP”) – HPP Batoshevo I and HPP Batoshevo II with combined capacity of 1,440 kW. The initial bidding price is fixed at BGN 1.5 mln. The PA scheduled the open-bid procedure for the 31st day after the announcement of the Agency’s resolution in the Bulgarian State Gazette which is not published so far.

Major Drinks Producer Litigates Customs Fees and Regulation on the Application of Border Control Measures

Wednesday, April 7th, 2004

Borislav Boyanov & Co. launched lawsuits in the Bulgarian Supreme Administrative Court on behalf of one of the major spirits producers, Diageo, challenging the fees collected by the Bulgarian customs authorities for border control measures, as well as an amendment in a regulation on the application of border control measures under the Marks and Geographical Indications Act of October last year, which purportedly excludes the application of such measures against parallel import. Diageo contends that the fees collectible by the customs authorities for applying the border control measures were set out in violation of the legal requirement to depend solely on the administrative expenses required for applying the measures.