ECONOMY

Siemens opens plant in Bulgaria

SOFIA (SeeNews) – German electronics and engineering group Siemens said yesterday it has established a plant for high-voltage components in the southwest Bulgarian town of Blagoevgrad, its first production facility in the Black Sea country. «I am proud… to announce that Siemens starts manufacturing in Bulgaria,» Simeon Neshev, head of Siemens Bulgaria, told a news conference. The German company, which is engaged in a number of Bulgarian strategic projects in energy and infrastructure, will export 100 percent of the Blagoevgrad plant’s output. Neshev said that Bulgaria was selected from at least five other countries that wanted the project, mainly for its its political and financial stability. He said labor costs and quality of personnel in Bulgaria were also favorable. The project will cost between 2 and 5 million euros, Georg Antesberger, management board member of Siemens Austria, told reporters. Siemens in January started trial production in a completely renovated building in Blagoevgrad and the plant, to be staffed by 100 workers, is projected to reach full capacity in October. Neshev declined to disclose when the plant will be officially opened. The facility, which will cover 3,000 square meters, will be the group’s third plant for high-voltage components, after those in China and Canada. Siemens signed last year two contracts totaling 184 million euros for the supply of 25 Desiro diesel-powered trains and 25 electric trains to Bulgarian state railways operator BDZ. The German group will invest 2 million euros to upgrade a rolling stock repair depot in the Black Sea city of Varna to provide maintenance services for the diesel trains it will supply to BDZ. The group will also modernize three of the generating units in the state-owned coal-fired power plant in Varna for 11 million euros. Siemens and France’s Areva jointly own Framatome ANP, which in a consortium with Russian Atomstroyexport last month placed a bid in a tender to build and put into operation Bulgaria’s second nuclear power plant.