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Dec 04, 2009 17:08 EEST
SOFIA (Bulgaria), December 4 (SeeNews) – Bulgaria's developing private equity sector is expected to see a pick-up in medium-size deals next year thanks to substantial interest by foreign buyers, a partner at a London-based law firm, New Balkans Law Office, said on Friday.
“The private equity sector, private investments in southeast Europe and in Bulgaria, in particular, has seen a lot of expectation and has grown considerably but has not reached its full potential,” Kamen Shoylev told SeeNews in an interview.
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“From our perspective […] it appears that the biggest opportunity exists in the medium range of the market, where there have been relatively few deals to date. Hopes are that over the next year there will be an increased number in medium-size deals, in buyouts specifically,” Shoylev said.
New Balkans Law Office (NBLO) is currently providing consultancy services to investors with interests in the medium-size segment, he added, but gave no name citing confidentiality reasons.
“We are hoping that there will be deals in IT and in outsourcing services, and recent analyst reports suggest this. We would expect a number of deals in industry, retail, more deals in real estate and hopefully a pick-up in the venture capital sector.”
He said that investors from the U.S., Western Europe and Central European states such as Poland and Austria have shown most interest.
NBLO will host a conference in Sofia, Private Equity in Bulgaria in 2010: The Year Ahead, on December 8. The event will convene stakeholders and industry officials who will discuss the challenges and the opportunities for the private equity sector in Bulgaria.
The participants in the conference will try to find an answer to what has so far hindered the closing of a greater number of private equity deals in Bulgaria. They will also discuss different types of private equity investment and their specific place in Bulgaria. The conference would hope to show the opportunities offered by private equity investments to various players on the European and emerging private equity markets.
“The main challenges concern the difference of price and information expectations between investors and fund managers, and the Bulgarian potential particularly in providing high-quality information and intermediation which we feel results in a suboptimally small number of transactions,” Shoylev said.
The law firm plans to make the conference an annual event which will bring together a variety of stakeholders involved in the private equity industry to discuss the latest developments in the sector.
NBLO (www.newbalkanslawoffice.com), set up in 2005, also has offices in Sofia and the Bulgarian city of Ruse, on the Danube River. In addition to advising private equity deals, the law firm provides advice on corporate and commercial issues, dispute resolution, intellectual property, real estate and construction, regulatory and tax issues with a particular emphasis on cross-border issues.
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