The Bulgarian state has completed a BGN29mn (€14.8mn) deal to buy back 100% of military aviation repair plant Avionams, Dnevnik daily reported on August 2. It is located on the territory of Graf Ignatievo Air Base near the city of Plovdiv in southern Bulgaria.
The plant was privatised in 2008, with a remaining minority stake sold in 2012. It was sold to companies linked to controversial Bulgarian businessman Tsvetan Vassilev, who is fugitive in Serbia currently. He was also the majority shareholder of Corporate Commercial Bank (Corpbank), which collapsed in mid-2014 wiping out some €1.88bn of taxpayers' money.
In January 2015, Vassilev initiated the transfer of several assets, including a 91% stake of Avionams to Belgian investor Pierre Louvrier. However, last July Louvrier handed back the assets to the Bulgarian tycoon.
The sale of Avionams was initiated by the bankruptcy trustees of Corpbank. All shares of the plant’s formal owner, Hedge Investment Bulgaria, were sold to the State Consolidation Company in May. Back then, the economy ministry said that the deal is financed with own funds and a loan from the Bulgarian Development Bank (BDB).
The Bulgarian state plans to develop the aviation repair plant, guaranteeing jobs and the independence of Bulgaria’s military aviation from foreign repair service providers.
However, Dnevnik reported that no answer has been given to the question why Avionams was not returned to the group of military repair plants Terem (under the ministry of defence) to which the company had belonged before its privatisation.
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