Bulgaria to dismantle energy holding by end-June - minister

Bulgaria to dismantle energy holding by end-June - minister

Bulgarian Energy Holding (BEH), the corporate structure set up to group most of the state-owned assets in the energy sector, would be disbanded by end-June, Bulgaria's Economy and Energy Minister Traicho Traikov said on April 12.Among its subsidiaries are the nuclear power plant at Kozloduy, gas company Bulgargaz, Sofia heating utility Toplofikatsiya, Maritsa Iztok 2 thermal power plant and the Mini Maritsa Iztok mines, as well as power transmission company NEK, the erstwhile majority shareholder in the planned nuclear power plant at Belene and the parent company of ESO, which operates Bulgaria's power grid.Set up in 2008, the holding posted 72.5 million leva in profit in the first full year of existence, at 72.5 million leva for 2009, but intermediate results earlier in the year showed several of its subsidiaries posting net losses.Prime Minister Boiko Borissov, who had talked about dismantling BEH during the election campaign, but allowed the entity to continue operations after taking office in July 2009, apparently decided to revert to his initial intention, saying on April 9 that he wanted the holding structure gone.According to Traikov, the reason for the Cabinet's decision not to dismantle BEH right away was to give the holding structure time to prove its worth in cutting costs and streamlining operations."It is time to draw the bottom line. After several months, we think that the BEH is not accomplishing that task and it is useless for it to continue existing in its current format," Traikov said, as quoted by Dnevnik daily.The Economy Ministry was considering whether some of BEH's subsidiaries could be merged based on cost-cutting considerations, or whether each subsidiary would stand alone, Dnevnik said.

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