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Bulgarian Posts to Put Up Minority Stake for Sale

Date: 30.06.2011

Bulgaria's postal service state-owned company Bulgarian Posts EAD will be taken off the list of companies, whose privatization is banned, under amendments, adopted by the economic committee in parliament.

The amendments to the privatization law were tabled and adopted with the votes of members of parliament from the ruling GERB party. They were harshly criticized by the opposition Socialist party and representatives of the trade unions, who saw them as the first step towards the company's privatization.

"The amendments do not necessarily mean the sale of the company. Our idea is to seek a buyer only for its minority stake, which will allow the state to retain its control" - explained members from GERB.

The move comes about half a year after Bulgaria's parliament approved amendments, which demonopolized the postal services market.

Thus, as of January 1, 2011, the monopoly of Bulgarian Posts on small parcels – less than 50grams – was eliminated.

At the same time, the law assigned to the state company the universal postal services in the country for a period of 15 years based on the fact that Bulgarian Posts is the only entity in Bulgaria which has the infrastructure to provide these kinds of services. Their performance will be inspected and evaluated every 5 years.

Postal Services would remain the main operator for the entire country for the next 15 years and would be subsidized by the State budget when they incur "unjust financial burdens."

The initial plan was to open the market in the beginning of 2009, but on the concerns of the Posts that private competition would take over its most lucrative segments, it was postponed by 2 years.

The amendments were prompted by an EU directive, providing for the full liberalization of postal markets in Member States by the end of 2012.

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