The Government adopted a Strategy for the privatization of the national air carrier Bulgaria Air EAD. According to the Strategy 99.99% of the capital of Bulgaria Air will be offered for sale but the Bulgarian state will retain a golden share in the company entitling it to veto certain strategic decisions. The official government press release of February 2 reads that the goals which the Government intends to achieve through the privatization include optimization of the work of the airline, increase in the destinations covered and the frequency of flights, as well as ensuring higher incomes for the staff.
The privatization procedure will be open for both strategic investors active in civil aviation and financial investors. The eligible candidates will have to be incorporated as Bulgarian registered companies, in which more than 51% of the share capital must be held by Bulgarian individuals and/or legal entities or by individuals and/or legal entities of Member/s State/s of the European Union or of the European Economic Area and, in addition to that, will have to meet certain criteria. The strategic investors should have over EUR 150 mln annual revenues from aviation services for the last two financial years, with over 750 000 passengers resorting to their services for the same period. The financial investors have to prove they have controlled assets amounting to EUR 250 mln per year for the last two years and/or hold shares in other companies, totaling EUR 150 mln.
Bulgaria Air will be privatized through an open public bidding procedure that will consist of two stages – preliminary and final. In the preliminary stage candidates have to submit a preliminary offer consisting of indicative price for the shares of Bulgaria Air, evidence about the financial resources available to the candidate and a preliminary business plan for development of the privatized company. The final complex assessment will be made on the basis of different criteria, such as the bidder’s offer, amount of investments, number of jobs, destinations, frequency of flights, etc. The Head of the Bulgarian Privatization Agency was cited in the press as saying that the price offered by the bidders and the amount of the investments planned for the first two years after the privatization will have the greatest significance in the final assessment of the offers submitted.