METROPOLITAN Galaktion of Stara Zagora led a blessing of the waters and consecrated a symbolic key last Wednesday to launch what is said to be the largest power project in Bulgaria, the Bulgarian News Agency (BTA) reported.
National Electric Co-mpany (NEC) executive director Vassil Anastassov handed the key to Tom Ray, chief executive of Maritsa Iztok AD.
The ceremony was also attended by Prime Minister Simeon Saxe-Coburg, MPs and town mayors.
Four units of the Maritsa Iztok 3 thermal power plant with a total output capacity of 840 megawatts are to be rehabilitated and upgraded and to acquire de-sulphurising sections. The 580 million euro project is financed by ten banks in Europe, including four in Bulgaria.
The project is creating 500 jobs and involves the award of sub-contracts worth 150 million leva to Bulgarian companies.
"Bulgaria is the place for investors to be, right here and right now," said Geoffrey Roberts, President and CEO of Entergy Wholesale Opera-tions. US-based Entergy is among the project contractors.
Saxe-Coburg described the investment in the project as "particularly important for the national economy and a clear signal to international investors".
He said this was "the first large project of environmental importance meeting European standards and so important for the living and health of people in Bulgaria".
Asked by a reporter whether he expected another similar project to be launched this year, Saxe-Coburg said he was "pessimistic about it, considering the domestic economic situation".
In April 2002, Entergy and Italy's ENEL reached agreement on the financing of the rehabilitation project for Maritsa Iztok 3. The partners have formed a joint venture, Energiina Kompaniya Maritsa Iztok 3 AD, controlled by the NEC (27 per cent), ENEL (44 per cent) and Entergy (29 per cent).
After the project, coal supplies will be provided under long-term agreements with the Maritsa Iztok Mines and the entire output of the power plant will be sold to the NEC.
The chief contractor in the rehabilitation of the Maritsa Iztok 3 plant is a consortium between Germany's DSD Dillinger Stahlbau GmbH and RWE Industrie-Losungen GmbH. The project will be finalised in 3.5 years.
Of the project cost of 580 million euro, 348 million euro will be provided by Entergy and Enel and the banks. The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development is providing 112.1 million euro; France's Credit Agricole and Societe Generale, Italy's Midiocredito and Austria's Bank Austria Creditanstalt are providing 140.7 million euro; and the Black Sea Bank for Trade and Development 20 million euro. Bulgaria's Bulbank, United Bulgarian Bank, Biochim and SG Express are also participating in the financing with a total of 75 million euro. The International Investment Guarantee Agency (MIGA) is to provide political risk insurance to the foreign banks.
These are the first 580 million euro of a total of one billion euro investment expected this year in Bulgaria's energy sector. The rest of the money is expected to come from the privatisation of power distribution companies.
The narrow focus of many euro zone countries on fiscal austerity is deepening the jobs crisis and could even lead to another recession in Europe, said the Director of the ILO Institute for International Labour Studies and lead author of the report, Raymond Torres.
Yassen Lyubenov is the new head of marketing at Bulgarian beer brewer Kamenitza. Lyubenov has 12 years of experience in marketing in the fast-moving consumer goods sector and has started his career as assistant brand manager at Kraft Foods Bulgaria. He later became brand manager at Wrigley Bulgaria, with responsibilities for Bulgaria and Macedonia. Prior to joining Kamenitza, he was senior marketing manager at Wrigley Russia, where he was in charge of brand expansion into Ukraine, Belarus, Central Asia and the Caucasus.
Lyubenov has a bachelor's degree in international business administration from the University of Lincoln, UK.
Kamelia Lozanova has been appointed the executive director of the Employment Agency, a position she has held ad interim since September 2011, following the resignation of her predecessor Rossitsa Stelianova. Prior to that, Lozanova was the agency's deputy executive director in charge of international projects and European programmes. She has been with the agency for more than 20 years.
Lozanova has a degree in Slavonic philology from the St Kliment Ohridski University of Sofia.
Gloria Dimitrova has been appointed executive director and member of the managing board at Uniqa Life Insurance Bulgaria. Dimitrova began her career in 1998 at the insurance supervision directorate, but moved to the private sector and worked for professional services and insurance brokerage firm Marsh&McLennan and US insurer AIG, both in Bulgaria and the Middle East. She joined Uniqa as regional director for Sofia in 2010.
Dimitrova has a degree in economics from the University for National and World Economy in Sofia and a master's degree in insurance from the Business Academy in Svishtov.
Bedros Kalfayan, general manager of skin care and cosmetics company Beiersdorf Bulgaria, will oversee the parent's company units in Romania and Moldova starting April 1. Following company restructuring, Beiersdorf's subsidiaries in the three countries were merged and are now one unit, part of Beiersdorf Central and Eastern Europe. Kalfayan joined Beiersdorf in 2007 as sales manager and was promoted to general manager in 2008. Prior to that, he worked for Axxon Bulgaria, Ferrero and Rubella.
Kalfayan has a master's degree in industrial management from the Technical University in Sofia.
Sasha Bezuhanova has been appointed Hewlett-Packard public sector director for emerging markets, where she will oversee HP public sector activities in 63 countries, including Bulgaria. Bezuhanova will also be in charge of HP's relations with the European Union. Bezuhanova has been HP's public sector director for Central and Eastern Europe since 2008; before that she was general manager of HP Bulgaria since 1998.
Bezuhanova has a master's degree in electronics from the Technical University in Sofia and has completed a managment programme at INSEAD.
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