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Dec 10, 2007 15:46 EEST
December 10 (SeeNews) - Bulgarian state-owned gas company Bulgargaz Holding plans to buy stakes in regional gas companies, its CEO said on Monday.
“We plan to create a portfolio of stakes in regional gas companies,” Lyubomir Denchev told a news conference.
Bulgargaz’s first international investment was the purchase of 9,000 shares in Romanian gas transmission company Transgaz, Denchev added. The Bulgarian company paid 1.1 million levs ($824,000/560,000 euro) for the shares, equivalent to a stake of less than one percent stake in Transgaz.
“Currently we are also in talks with the biggest European companies, including OMV, E.On, Gaz de France, to set up joint ventures,” he said but declined to elaborate.
Bulgargaz is a shareholder in major international projects such as the 4.6 billion euro Nabucco pipeline for the transit of natural gas from the Middle East to Central Europe and the up to $700 million pipeline that would carry Caspian oil to Greece's Aegean coast via Bulgaria, bypassing Turkey's tanker-clogged Bosphorus Straits.
It also plans to create a gas distribution company and an engineering company in 2008.
“The number of construction companies which participate in our tenders and the quality of their work has been gradually decreasing in the past few years, so we decided to set up our own company,” Denchev said. “The gas distributor will cover the white spots on the map, but in some regions we can cooperate with other distributors.”
Earlier this year Bulgargaz said it planned to go public over the next three years, floating up to 30% of its capital. Bulgargaz Holding is on a Bulgarian government list of strategic companies which are banned from privatisation because they are considered vital for national security. To go public, the company would need to be taken off the list first.
The Bulgarian government plans to incorporate Bulgargaz into a future mammoth energy holding company, aiming to maintain the country's role of a leading power exporter in southeastern Europe. The mega-holding would be expected to enter partnership deals with energy companies with interests in the region and possibly list on an international stock exchange.
(1 euro= 1.95583 Bulgarian levs)
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