New stumbling block ahead in PPC bid for Bulgaria’s Bobov Dol power plant

The Public Power Corporation’s (PPC) efforts to expand into Bulgaria took on another twist yesterday as the country’s Privatization Agency announced it had appealed against the decision by Bulgaria’s Supreme Administrative Court (SAC) on March 14 that cleared the way for PPC to buy Bulgarian power plant Bobov Dol. Unconfirmed reports suggested that this appeal will be presented before a five-member SAC panel whose ruling will be final. SAC had overturned a government decision that had scrapped the plant’s sale to the Greek power company. Even if this appeal is not upheld, it will certainly lead to further months of delays in the whole process, as negotiations on key issues cannot begin before the case is closed. This new negative intervention by the Privatization Agency for the selloff of the 630-megawatt Bobov Dol thermal power station was far from expected, as this very authority, through its representative, had committed itself to adhering to the court’s decision before it was issued. In a press conference on March 7, just a week before the decision by SAC, the agency’s Executive Director Todor Nikolov said that it would fully comply with the court’s decision and, should that be favorable for PPC, negotiations would immediately begin for the completion of the agreement. Furthermore, the text itself of the SAC decision issued on March 14 states that «the litigant, the Privatization Agency through its executive director, recognizes the soundness of the legal redress.»