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INTERVIEW - Bulgaria's Empower Capital looking to invest 4.5 mln euro in local SMEs

INTERVIEW - Bulgaria's Empower Capital looking to invest 4.5 mln euro in local SMEs Author: Empower Capital Licence: All Rights Reserved

SOFIA (Bulgaria), March 1 (SeeNews) - Bulgarian investment fund Empower Capital is looking to invest 4.5 million euro ($4.9 million) in local small and medium-sized companies (SMEs), preferably in the manufacturing sector, the fund's operations manager and partner said.

So far, Empower Capital has invested more than 11.5 million euro in five Bulgarian companies and is currently looking at several potential projects, Stanislav Nikolaev told SeeNews in a recent interview.

The fund's investments are in the sectors of healthcare, technology, production, and facility management services.

"We have affinity for manufacturing plants. However, excluding certain restrictions imposed by our mandate by the European Investment Fund (EIF), particularly investments in agriculture and real estate sectors, we are open to consider projects in almost all sectors of the economy," Nikolaev added.

Empower Capital's services include assisting the company's management company not only financially, but also with knowledge and experience in corporate finance, improving the organisational structure, entering new markets, and strategic planning.

Empower Capital prefers to partner with co-investors with proven experience and expertise in sectors for which the fund has not enough competence.

"Such an example is the local IT sector, which definitely represents an interest to us as a fund," Nikolaev noted.

Last month, Empower Capital teamed up with Finnish investment firm KJK Capital in a joint venture called Mundus Services to buy facility management company Facility Optimum Bulgaria and cleaning services firm Viki Komfort 2004. The partners have invested 2.5 million euro each for a 42.5% stake in Mundus Services.

"We have an obligation to co-invest on equal terms with the other co-investor, we cannot participate by more than 50% of the initial investment," Nikolaev explained.

The fund's capital was provided under JEREMIE - a joint initiative launched by the European Commission and the European Investment Bank (EIB) to improve access to finance for SMEs in the EU.

The first challenge for the management of Mundus Services and the two recently acquired companies is to integrate and harmonise their operations and teams to align to standards and working methods.

Also they must build a corporate structure to unite good corporate practices, to optimise opportunities for synergies and to introduce a uniform information system, accounting and resource planning.

($=0.9184 euro)

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