Bulgaria - Bulgartabac 2010 profit 16.5 times larger than it was in 2009..

March 3, 2011 - Bulgaria's state cigarette maker Bulgartabac Holding, which is about to be privatized, completed 2010 with a net profit of BGN 20 M (14.3 M USD)

The company's financial performance was announced in a statement in which its management also said that the profit "confirms the consistent trend of positive financial results."

Bulgartabac's 2010 profit is 16.5 times larger than it was in 2009. The consolidated income from cigarette sales grew 22% year-on-year.

In 2010, 80% of the produce of Bulgartabac Holding was exported, compared with 53% in 2009, and only 31% in 2008.

In addition to its growing exports, the Bulgartabac Holding Group occupies 37% of the Bulgarian domestic tobacco market. 3.5% of Bulgartabac's income for 2010 came from the sales of tobacco leaves.

The Bulgartabac Holding Group features two cigarette plants – Blagoevgrad-BT and Sofia BT – and a tobacco processing plant, Pleven-BT. As a result of the good financial results, in the fourth quarter of 2010, the shares of Bulgartabac Holding gained 54.77% on the Sofia Stock Exchange, Sofia-BT – 66.04%, Blagoevgrad-BT – 30.26%, Pleven-BT – 40.03%.

Bulgartabac's improved financial results have been announced just as the Borisov Cabinet is preparing to privatize the company. About a dozen strategic and financial investors have declared interest in the privatization of Bulgaria's state cigarette producer Bulgartabac Holding, according to Economy Minister Traicho Traikov.

Unofficial information reported in the Bulgarian media says that the bidders seeking to purchase Bulgartabac include companies from Bulgaria, Greece, and South Korea.

Bulgartabac, whose state management has been questionable in the recent years, is being put on the privatization table after its privatization has been mulled for years.

In January, Finance Minister Simeon Djankov reiterated earlier announcements that Bulgaria's government is determined to go ahead with the planned sale of the country's tobacco company, the biggest military plant and the minority stakes in electricity distributors. (Bulgaria - about a dozen investors declared interest in the privatization of Bulgartabac Holding..)

The sale of Bulgartabac Holding AD, Sopot-based Vazovski Mashinostroitelni Zavodi or VMZ, and the minority stakes in the electricity distributors have been said to be a must-do task in 2011 due to the sorry performance of the state-owned companies.

The Economy Ministry revealed in January that the consultant Citibank has made preliminary inquiries with about 100 potential strategic and financial investors from around the world with respect to Bulgartabac's privatization in order to make sure that all "serious" investors that are not aware of the sale of the Bulgarian cigarette company.

According to the Ministry, there is a sufficient number of companies interested in the privatization of Bulgartabac because it is an attractive asset even in a time of crisis.

The Economy Ministry said it wants to find a buyer for Bulgartabac by the summer of 2011.

In spite of declarations in April 2010 that Bulgaria's Privatization Agency hoped to complete the sale of state-owned cigarette monopoly Bulgartabac in 2010, no such deal went through by the end of December 2010.

The consultant for the Bulgartabac sale, Citigroup Global Markets Ltd, was picked by the Bulgarian government in February 2010. (Bulgaria - Citigroup chosen as consultant for sale of Bulgartabac..)

The two less profitable cigarette plants of Bulgartabac holding – in the cities of Plovdiv and Stara Zagora – were sold in 2009 through the Sofia Stock Exchange – for BGN 31 M and BGN 18 M respectively; the holding still owns the two larger and more consolidated factories in Sofia and Blagoevgrad as well as a number of commercial brands.

Reference: Bulgarian Tobacco Giant with BGN 20 M Net Profit before Privatization, Novinite.com (Sofia News Agency), 3/1/2011.

Bulgaria - some related news briefs:
Bulgaria - about a dozen investors declared interest in the privatization of Bulgartabac Holding..;
Bulgaria - according to CEO of Bulgartabac cigarette prices may not change in 2011..;
Bulgaria - advisory board for tobacco will be established..;
Bulgaria - Bulgartabac - sale should be completed by middle of 2011..;
Bulgaria - rightist SDS party - each EU state should set own excise duties..;
Bulgaria - tobacco contraband..;
Bulgaria - cigarette excise revenue down this year..;
Bulgaria - smoking restriction checks begin after January 3, 2011..;
Bulgaria - PMI to introduce their own Marlboro 10-pack cigarettes..;
Bulgaria - health minister will work for implementing full smoking ban in public places..;
Bulgaria - tobacco growers seeking more subsidies..;
Greece/Bulgaria - governments opposed to WHO's attempt to ban blended tobacco..;
Bulgaria - tobacco companies back effort to reduce illicit cigarette trade.;
Bulgaria - Mayor of Town of Kyustendil - non-smokers should pay less for health insurance..;
Bulgaria - smoking ban beginning January 1, 2011 - do they know which smoking ban applies??;
Bulgaria - Director of the Customs Agency announced Bulgaria ranks 1st in Europe in seizure of contraband cigarettes..;
Bulgaria - smoking rate down, knowledge of dangers of tobacco use gaining..;
Bulgaria - another tobacco tax increase in the draft 2011 budget..;
Bulgaria - confusion over which public smoking ban is in force..;
Bulgaria - WHO upset with Bulgaria's weakened smoking ban..;
Bulgaria - weakened smoking ban, just added minors can't be in disco clubs after 10pm..;
Bulgaria - final vote delayed on weakened smoking ban..;
Bulgaria - weakened smoking ban, second reading..;
Bulgaria - commission tightens smoking ban a little..;
Bulgaria - Bulgartabac buyer may be chosen by end of year..;
Bulgaria - prime minister not happy with giving tobacco growers subsidies..;
Bulgaria - to loosen smoking ban to start June 1, 2010..;
Bulgaria - finance minister comments may be good news for tobacco farmers..;
Bulgaria - parliament debates proposal to water down smoking ban..;
Bulgaria - majority of all Bulgarians - 78% are against the smoking ban delay..;
Bulgaria - every increase in excise duty on cigarettes consumption goes down..;
Bulgaria - grace period over, increase in tobacco tax starts Thursday, April 1, 2010..;
Bulgaria - Italian authorities arrest 2-Bulgarians smuggling cigarettes..;
Bulgaria - tractor trailer loaded with contraband cigarettes seized in Ancona, Italy..;
Bulgaria - cigarette consumption down, cigarette tax collection up, seeking funds for technology to intercept contraband goods..;
Bulgaria - justifying why smoking ban won't go into effect on June 1, 2010..;
Bulgaria - Citigroup chosen as consultant for sale of Bulgartabac..;
Bulgaria - ruling party may delay smoking ban until 2011..;
Bulgaria - Finance Minister Djankov, "Less Smoking Is Good for Economy..";
Bulgaria - govt to weaken full smoking ban to be effective June 1, 2010..;
Bulgaria - do producers support contraband cigarettes??;
Bulgaria - sale of Bulgartabac coming - selection of a consultant..;
Greek Farmers Renew Bulgaria Border Blockade..;
Bulgaria - leadership of tobacco fund to be replaced..;
Bulgaria - illegal trade in cigarettes will reach 40% of total trade in 2010..;
Bulgaria - limits on personal imports of tobacco products from outside the EU..;
Bulgaria - European Commission authorizes payment to tobacco producers for 2009 crop..;
Bulgaria -two cigarette smuggling attempts busted on Serbian border..;
Bulgaria - price of cigarettes increases..;
Bulgaria - Bulgartabac stays in the economy ministry, sold by middle of 2010, starting price 100,000,000 euro..;
Bulgaria - tobacco producers propose Bulgartabac transfer..;
Bulgaria - government, tobacco growers reach subsidy agreement..;
Bulgaria - start of steps leading to the privatization of the state-owned cigarette monopoly Bulgartabac..;
Bulgaria - police hold smoking protest over lack of bonuses..;
Bulgaria - police busts major cigarette contraband ring..;
Bulgaria - Bulgartabac Holding” will be privatized in 2010..;
Bulgaria - MPs Impose Hefty Fines on Cigarette Sales Violators..;
Bulgartabac Chief - cigarette tax increase as of January 1, 2010..;
Bulgaria Bulgartabac Holding Sells 23% of Shares to Mutual Funds..;
Bulgaria - more than 70% of smokers want to quit..;
Bulgaria - cigarette taxes going up each year except 2011..;
Bulgaria - chair of the economic committee in parliament disapproves of planned raise in excise duties on cigarettes..;
Bulgaria and others - smoking ban, increased cigarette taxes, smuggling..;
Bulgaria - Cigarette excise duties will be increased next year..;
Bulgaria - cigarette contraband, government loses BGN 920M yearly..;
Bulgaria - one third of the tobacco products sold are illicit..;
Bulgaria - new government to speed-up Bulgartabac sale..;
Bulgaria - Fake Victory Light cigarettes..;
Bulgaria's tobacco monopoly may be up for sale..;
Bulgarian lawmakers vote to ban smoking in all publc places from June 2010..; Bulgarian tobacco company Sofia-BT exports increase by 541 percent..;
Does Russia own Bulgaria's tobacco monopoly, Bulgartabac..;
EU percent of adults smokers -highest Greece 1 , Bulgaria 2.. - lowest Slovenia..;
Bulgaria - 1 in 3 youths smoke / half of pregnant women smoke..;
PMI training Bulgarian custom officers to stop cigarette smuggling..;
Philip Morris International (PMI) was truly happy they had been back in the Bulgarian cigarette market for a year and had already had 6.8% of market..;
WHO FCTC Protocol to Prevent Illicit Trade in Tobacco Products Won't Be Completed Until End of 2010..;
WHO Report on the Global Tobacco Epidemic 2008..;
Bulgaria Enters 2009 with Cigarette Prices Hike...
Bulgaria is marking Tuesday, November 10, 2009, the 20th year since the internal coup at the Bulgaria;