ECONOMY

Bulgargas considers launching eurobond to upgrade network

SOFIA (Reuters) – Bulgaria’s state-owned gas monopoly Bulgargas said yesterday it was considering launching debut eurobonds this year to raise money to modernize its outdated pipeline network. Bulgargas board member and Deputy Energy Minister Ilko Yotsev told a news conference that the company would issue eurobonds on international markets if the government decided it was the best option for securing funds. «A working group led by the Energy Ministry has been discussing various sources of raising money, including issuing eurobonds. We are ready to go for one of them at any time, depending on the market conditions,» Yotsev said. He declined to say the amount of the possible eurobond or give more details. A government source told Reuters another option for Bulgargas was getting a syndicated loan of below $100 million. Bulgarian companies, unlike those in more advanced European Union candidate states, have been conservative about raising money by tapping international markets. So far, none of Bulgaria’s companies have issued bonds abroad. Yotsev said Bulgargas had selected international credit rating agency Fitch to affirm its rating. The company was set up some 30 years ago and needs hefty investment to upgrade aging pipelines and expand transit capacity to Balkan neighbors.