Bulgarian Prime Minister Boyko Borisov has declared his idea to trade BDZ Freight Services, the cargo unit of the Bulgarian State Railways BDZ, to Siemens in exchange for BDZ’s debt to the German company for a recent train purchase.
Borisov announced his idea Thursday, August 2nd, after a meeting with Hans Heinrich Driftmann, the President of the Association of German Chambers of Industry and Commerce.
This is not a brand-new idea since it was discussed back in January 2012 when the Bulgarian transport authorities mentioned it as an option for covering the debt of BDZ Holding to German bank KfW for the purchase of 50 electric and diesel Desiro trains since 2003.
Back then KfW threatened to seize all Desiro trains – which are the only new trains bought by the Bulgarian State Railways after 1989 – over a delayed payment of EUR 24 M by BDZ.
Back in 2005, KfW granted BDZ a loan of EUR 190 M for the purchase of the 50 Desiro trains. At present, BDZ still owes KfW BGN 235 M, or about EUR 115 M, according to Vladimir Vladimirov, head of the BDZ Holding Board, as cited by Mediapool Thursday.
The assets of BDZ Freight Services are worth some BGN 320 M, as mentioned by Bulgarian Transport Minister Ivaylo Moskovski at the end of 2011. At the same time, Borisov’s statement about swapping BDZ Freight Services for BDZ’s KfW Siemens train debt comes just days after the first attempt of the Borisov Cabinet to privatize BDZ Freight Services failed since it attracted only a single bidder with mysterious ownership.
“BDZ Freight Services is up for privatization, and I have asked for talks with Siemens if they would agree to take over the company in exchange for this debt. That is why we are inviting them to the privatization tender,” Borisov stated. It is still unclear whether Siemens and KfW have been approached with the idea.
More details are available at http://www.novinite.com/view_news.php?id=141941