Vivacom targets purchase of Bulsatcom
United Group, owner of telecom giant Vivacom, wants to buy its main competitor Bulsatcom. The connection between the two telecoms became public already a year ago, when Bulgarian businessman Spas Rusev bought Bulsatcom with a loan from United. Now the idea is to turn the loan into a formal deal.
For almost a year now, the local anti-monopoly body CPC has been unable to decide if this form of financing is a problem. The commission now has to reach a decision on the deal within five weeks, or months, if it launches an in-depth investigation.
Exports hit rock bottom
Bulgarian enterprises reported a year-on-year drop in export revenues of nearly 5.5 billion levs from the beginning of the year to September compared to the same period in 2022. The decline amounts to about 8% on an annual basis, according to preliminary data from the statistical institute. The huge drop comes from energy products, natural oils and fats, whose prices have collapsed after last year's record rise, as well as metal products.
Meanwhile, sales of goods such as machinery and equipment and end-use products are still performing well and growing year-on-year. So, in practice, the drop in energy and fuel prices, thanks to which Bulgarian exports achieved record results last year, showed that one-time market shocks cannot be relied on to bring long-term growth, and productions with high added value must be developed.
Russia's Lukoil windfall
Russia has raked in 1 billion euro through exploiting loopholes in EU sanctions' rules with the help of Bulgaria, according to Brussels-based news outlet Politico.
The media investigation points out that through taking advantage of a unique exemption to the EU's Russian oil ban, Bulgaria allowed millions of barrels of Russian oil to reach Lukoil's refinery in Burgas, which then exported fuels abroad, including to EU countries.
The analysis also points out that the scheme also generated almost 500 million euro in profits for the refinery's owner Lukoil since the exemption kicked in on February 5.