The group of Bulgaria's largest sunflower oil producer, Oliva, will build a 100 million euro grain port terminal near the coastal city of Varna. The European Investment Bank (EIB) will provide a 50 million euro loan to co-finance the project backed by the InvestEU program.
Buildcom Group has two lines of business: sunflower oil production for export, and trade in grain. Its revenue in 2021 amounted to more than 1.8 billion levs (900 million euro).
The loan agreement was signed between the EIB and Logistic Center Varna, part of Buildcom Group. It will help the group integrate the logistics side of its business and optimize grain and bulk port operations in the Varna area, the bank said in a press release.
The terminal will have a capacity to handle 3 to 4 million tonnes a year - more than the group needs - and will be used by other traders, too, Oliva told the Capital Weekly.
The new terminal
The project was developed by Logistic Center Varna, a company registered in 2007 and formerly owned by TB Consult of lawyer Todor Batkov. About a year ago Oliva's group decided to invest in the facility and acquired the company.
The new grain terminal is expected to become operational in the second quarter of 2026. It consists of a new quay, a silo and other storage facilities as well as a new railway and road access. According to information on Logistic Center Varna's website, the site is located on the northern side of Channel 2, which connects the Varna Lake to Beloslav Lake, about 16km away from Varna.
"With its modern facilities, the new terminal will provide local grain producers with an efficient and price-competitive access to the liquid international markets. It will be an important gateway for Bulgarian grain exports and will increase the country's competitiveness in maritime transportation," Julian Stefanov, CEO of Logistic Center Varna, said in a statement.
Buildcom is one of the largest traders in grain and fertilizers in Bulgaria, holding some 20% of the local grain export market. The group is owner of Oliva, which manages three sunflower oil production facilities (in Varna and in the towns of Knezha and Polski Trambesh) with capacity to process 700,000 tonnes of seeds a year. The company holds more than 50% of the sunflower oil market in Bulgaria.
Buildcom is owned by Angel Georgiev, who joined Oiliva as a shareholder in 2001 and gradually increased his interest to more than 99%. Oliva's portfolio includes crude and refined sunflower oil, meal, kernels. Some 80 to 90% of the output is exported.
This is the first EIB transaction in Bulgaria in which a private company benefits from a InvestEU guarantee. The project is expected to have a positive impact on the environment, supporting a shift from road shipping to less carbon intensive rail and maritime transport.
The program consists of three components: the InvestEU Fund, the InvestEU Advisory Hub and the InvestEU Portal. The InvestEU Fund is implemented through financial partners that invest in projects using the EU budget guarantee of 26.2 billion euro. The entire budget guarantee backs the investment projects of the implementing partners, increase their risk-bearing capacity and thus mobilize at least 372 billion euro in additional investment.