The Government of Bulgaria is selling a majority stake in Bulgarian Telecommunications Company (BUTECO), the incumbent Bulgarian fixed line telecom operator. The Bank is proposing to support a consortium led by Advent International plc to acquire a controlling stake in the company. The transaction will privatise BUTECO and aid its transition to a fully commercially managed company.
This transaction will privatise BUTECO, which will improve corporate governance, financial performance and operating efficiency of the company to that normally expected in commercially managed telecom operations. The privatisation is one step in liberalising the sector and with deregulation in January 2003, BUTECO will need to adapt to compete on product service aspects and pricing as tariff rebalancing continues and when other telecom operators enter the market.
€50 million is to be invested in the company, which together with internally generated funds, will allow upgrading of Bulgarian telecoms infrastructure to modernise and digitise part of BUTECO's network and improve BUTECO's IT infrastructure. Thus improvements in BUTECO's technical and commercial operations will benefit the retail sector and corporate consumers in terms of choice, pricing and quality of service. Availability of competitively priced high-quality telecoms services in central and eastern Europe is essential for the development of businesses and overall economic activity in the region. Thus, funding a company which will upgrade its network and differentiate itself from its competitors through providing additional value-added services to the wide spectrum of business and residential users, is bound to improve the operational environment in the country.
Bulgarian Telecommunications Company – the incumbent Bulgarian fixed line operator which develops, operates and maintains the national telecommunications network and data system for Bulgaria, currently wholly owned by the Bulgarian government.
Commitment to provide up to €70 million in debt financing plus up to €23 million equity funding to a consortium led by Advent International plc (the lead investor), to purchase 65% of ordinary shares in BUTECO.
Up to €350 million.
The operation was classified C/1 and an environmental audit, carried out by independent consultants, confirmed that BUTECO is in compliance with all relevant Bulgarian environmental, health and safety standards and regulations. BUTECO has a unified and comprehensive worker health and safety policy and no violations, fees or penalties have been incurred in the last three years.
In order to bring the Company in line with international environmental management practices for the telecommunication sector, a number of issues have been identified. These include the development of a formal environmental policy and a proactive management system in accordance with the international standard ISO 14001, and the introduction of a unified waste management system, in accordance with EU and World Bank standards, which will be addressed by the Company.
Ann Nethery, Advent International plc
Tel: +44 20 7333 0800
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