Archive for March, 2005

New Genetically Modified Organisms Act

Wednesday, March 30th, 2005

The Genetically Modified Organisms Act (“GMO Act”), promulgated in State Gazette, Issue No. 27 of March 29, 2005, will enter into force on June 1, 2005. The GMO Act will govern the work with GMO in controlled conditions, the release of GMO in the environment, the release of GMO (including in a combined form or as an ingredient of other products) in circulation in the market, the transportation, import, export and transit of GMO as well as the supervision over all those activities. The law, in particular, stipulates that the placing of GMO or products containing GMO in the market will be subject to an authorization issued by the Minister of Agriculture and Forests. The Minister will be empowered to refuse to grant authorization in case there are risks for the human health or the environment and the protection measures which have been taken are insufficient or ineffective. All issued authorizations will be listed in an electronic publicly available register which will be kept by the Ministry of Agriculture and Forests.

MobilTel Won the Tender for UMTS License Class A

Wednesday, March 30th, 2005

The dominant mobile telecommunications operator MobilTel won an open tender organized by the Communications Regulation Commission (CRC), the national regulatory authority in the field of telecommunications, for an individual license for the provision of 3G mobile services (UMTS standard) with national coverage. MobilTel will pay BGN 78 million (approximately €39,100,000) for the 20-year license with capacity 2 x 10 MHz + 1 x 5 MHz. On January 28, 2005 the CRC announced two tenders – one for a class A license and one for two class B licenses for UMTS mobile services. Initially, a total of 8 potential bidders expressed interest and paid the tender documentations, but subsequently all of them, save for the two local GSM operators (MobilTel and Globul) and the recently privatized incumbent fixed operator (BTC), have withdrawn from the tenders. In today’s class A license tender only MobilTel and BTC participated. According to the press, the Chairwoman of the CRC announced that the two 20-year Class B licenses with capacity 2 x 5 Hz + 1 x 5 MHz, with initial license fee of BGN 42 million, would be awarded without tender to the only two remaining bidders in the class B tender: BTC Mobile, the mobile telecommunications arm of BTC, and Globul. For more information you may contact Mr. Damian Simeonov at d.simeonov@boyanov.com.

Privatisation Procedure for Bulgarian River Shipping Company

Thursday, March 24th, 2005

The Privatisation Agency (“PA”) officially announced a public tender for the sale of 70% stake in the Bulgarian River Shipping Company (“BRSC”). The tender documentation can be purchased until April 8, 2005 at the price of BGN 1,000. Candidates to buy the stake must file their indicative bids until April 25, 2005 and satisfy all of the following requirements: (i) be legal entities registered in Bulgaria or in an EU Member State, however, they may not be off-shore companies; and be either (ii) strategic investors, i.e. providers of transport and logistic services with total revenues of over €30 mln. for the past three audited financial years, or cargo processors that have handled no less that 2 mln tons over the past three years, or (iii) financial investors, at least 50% of whose share capital is directly held by legal entities managing assets with value of over €50 mln. for the last audited financial year.

According to information in the press prior to the official announcement of the tender, PriceWaterhouseCoopers, the consultant of the PA on the deal, has invited more than 200 financial and strategic investors to take part in the tender. 30% of the BRSC’s shares are traded on the non-cash segment of the Bulgarian Stock Exchange.