BAT only bidder for Bulgartabac

SOFIA (AFP) – British-American Tobacco (BAT) is the only candidate to take over the production sites of Bulgartabac as part of the privatization in chunks of the Bulgarian tobacco firm, an official source said yesterday. Deputy Economy Minister Radoslav Bozadjiev said that the privatization procedure would go ahead even though one bid had been received before the expiration of the tender period on Friday. British-American Tobacco bid for a factory in Sofia and the southern city of Plovdiv out of a total of four on sale. The Socialist opposition accused the government last week of not doing enough in order to restructure the factories to be sold off in lots, as the Parliament had voted at the end of 2003. An outright sale of Bulgartabac, and its 22 total plants, failed in the same year. The second stab at privatizing the company was launched in July with a tender process for four of the best performing plants, representing 13 of its brands.