BNP Paribas and Bulgaria's Belene

Monday, May 21, 2007

BNP Paribas (BNPP) won the first competition for financing Belene, reported ITAR-TASS on May 14. The bank said that, together with other partners, it would provide the 250 million euro loan needed to start construction.

BNPP defeated 10 other competitors in winning the tender for the funding. In April 2007, the National Electricity Company (NEC) announced the procedure on choosing a bank to give the first loan. The money is planned to be used for planning, acquisition of equipment and construction during the first year of the project.

 09:00 Mon 21 May 2007 - Elitsa Grancharova

FINE EFFORT: Sixty-six bankers from BNP Paribas' offices in London, Paris, Madrid, Rome and Geneva dedicated the entire May 11 to doing repairs at the orphanage in Mezdra town, western Bulgaria.

The contract with BNPP is still not signed, NEC said. They said they would give more information after the bank puts its name under the agreement.

According to BNPP Bulgarian unit general director Ullrich Schubert, the bank is NEC’s preferred choice in terms of financial and technical conditions. He said he was optimistic the agreement could be signed “within the next one or two weeks”.

To be able to give bigger loans, at the end of 2006 BNPP became a branch.

The bank has a strong position in financing projects in the Bulgarian energy field, Bulgarian daily Dnevnik reported. BNPP was a consultant in the sale of the seven energy distribution companies and took part in the financing of the construction of the new 650 MW capacity in Maritsa Iztok coal-fired thermo power plant. BNPP’s name is also mentioned in connection to the construction of the Nabuko gas pipeline from the Caspian region.

Green Policy institute and BeleNE coalition representative Petko Kovachev told The Sofia Echo that BNPB was undertaking a considerable risk to finance a project, which has ecological, seismic, ecological and other problems, he said.

“Independently of this development, we think that the project is not able to generate enough finance. Recent information sources indicate that the Government is starting a dangerous game in giving state support to the project, which could prove to be in contradiction with EU legislation,” Kovachev said.

Meanwhile, on May 4, at a meeting chaired by Michel Pebereau, the BNP Paribas board of directors examined the group’s results for the first quarter of the year and revealed them in a media statement.

They showed substantial growth, booking quarterly revenues of 8.213 million euro, up 20.5 per cent compared to the first quarter of 2006. This performance is due to the successful integration of BNL, with the first resulting synergies, to sustained organic growth at the group’s core businesses (+ 7.1 per cent at constant scope and exchange rates) and to significant capital gains.

The trend in operating expenses (4.586 million euro) reflected this forward momentum, while remaining under control: + 18.7 per cent compared to the first quarter of 2006 (+ 5.8 per cent at constant scope and exchange rates), the media statement said. This yielded a positive effect of 1.8 points for the Group and 1.3 points for the core businesses at constant scope and exchange rates.

Gross operating income totalled 3.627 million euro, up 22.7 per cent compared to the first quarter of 2006 (+ 8.9 per cent for the core businesses at constant scope and exchange rates).

Provisions (260 million euro) were 144 million euro higher than in the first quarter of 2006. Of that amount, 109 million euro were attributable to expanded scope, chiefly related to BNL.

BNPP net income group share was 2.507 million euro, up 24.5 per cent compared to the first quarter of 2006.

The bank is an European leader in banking and financial services ranking among the world’s top 15 banks by market capitalisation. It has more than 140 000 employees.

In Bulgaria, BNP Paribas is a leading commercial and investment bank. It serves large and medium-sized corporate and institutional clients, spanning over the major sectors in the local economy.

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