More than 10,000 people are now hospitalized in Bulgaria. Against this background, Thursday marks the first day of another round of partial reopening - restaurants can serve customers outside, large stores will also be allowed to work under certain conditions, museums, galleries, cinemas and gyms reopen. According to the health minister, hospitals were now more prepared (a statement emergency units do not agree with), and though there's some pressure on the healthcare system, people's emotional state is suffering more, said Kostadin Angelov. The reopening comes days before Bulgaria's parliamentary elections (April 4).
The budget has a deficit of 656m levs
Government finances finished the first quarter of 2021 with a deficit of 656m levs or 328m euro - the largest for this part of the year since 2014. For comparison, a year ago, before the pandemic, the budget was in surplus of 1.4bn levs. To some extent, the deficit was expected at some point in the year, given that 2021 is set to end on a deficit of 4.9bn levs due to the government's anti-crisis measures.
However, a gap of this size so early in the year could signal trouble in the future. For example, a month ago the Central Bank warned that a possible deterioration in the epidemic (which we are already experiencing) carries risks for the budget and the country's debt burden.
GeoPost launches second buyout bid for Speedy
French courier group GeoPost has launched a second buyout bid for the remaining 30.09% stake in local express delivery company Speedy that it doesn't already own. The firm is offering to pay 80 levs (40 euro) per share, according to Speedy's stock exchange filing on Wednesday. This means that GeoPost is ready to pay another 130m levs for full control of Speedy. In turn, the delivery company's valuation rises to 430m levs.
Startup Dronamics launches cargo drone airline
Bulgarian startup Dronamics, which has been working since 2014 to create unmanned aerial systems for cargo purposes (or, delivery drones), is launching Dronamics Airline with subsidiaries in Ireland, Canada, and Australia. The airline is meant to manage the same-day delivery service that Dronamics is planning with its Black Swan cargo drone.