Navigation Maritime Bulgare (Navibulgar), the nationally owned Bulgarian shipping company, has confirmed its acquisition of Varna shipyard
, which has been in administration since January.
Payment of the purchase price of $16.1 million was completed on April 8 and gives Navibulgar ownership of the assets of the yard. The asset purchase transaction does not involve Navibulgar taking over any existing debts.
Navibulgar has stated that it intends to complete work in progress on vessels under construction at the yard. In addition to the bulk carriers "Trapezitza" (21,500 DWT) and "Doli" (42,000 DWT) on order for Navibulgar, the yard has a further two ships on which work is well advanced.
At a presentation in Bulgaria this
week, Navibulgar Director General Capt. Gueno Guenov announced that Varna Shipyard has already received expressions of interest in possible new orders from about ten foreign companies. Enquiries include two tankers of about 72,000 DWT, two multipurpose vessels, dry bulk ships of various tonnages and ten river tankers of 4,000 DWT.
In the meantime, the yard will also undertake repair work on Navibulgar and other owners' ships.
"We are keen to reactivate the yard and envisage that it can work at about 50-60% of its maximum theoretical capacity until 2005," Capt. Guenov stated. "This would secure about 700-850 jobs in the first phase of completing existing ships, and about double that thereafter."
Navibulgar is Bulgaria's fourth largest business enterprise, with a sales turnover in 2001 of BGN 573.9 million (US$ 267.3 million). The company operates a diverse fleet of almost 100 ships, including bulk carriers, container ships, chemical tankers and specialized rail ferries.