Briport, a tie-in between local companies Brikel and Portovi Flot 99, and Kremikovtzi Trade are the two candidates to run the Lom port on the Danube, under a concession arrangement, Dnevnik learned from transport ministry sources.
Briport is owned by local businessman Hristo Kovachki while Vasil Bozhkov of Nove Holding fame is believed to be involved with the other candidate for the port concession.
No statement will be forthcoming on the parameters of the offers or on the likely timeframe for their review, said the transport ministry, citing disclosure constraints under the Concessions Act. It was initially believed that the concession decision would be announced by April 2, a delay that has created tension among the bidders.
The Commission for the Protection of Competition is yet to take a decision on a complaint against the procedure lodged by Port Lom TES-NRS.
Sources said Briport apparently has the edge after offering to pay the highest concession royalty and make the biggest investment. The consortium has pledged to invest 185 mln levs in new warehouses, quay berths and port equipment over the next 35 years.
The Kovachki office confirmed that their bid did indeed contain significant investment and royalty figures.
The port concession procedure got underway in October 2007. The minimum investment that is required from the future operator is 66 mln levs, including a spend of 30 mln in the first for years of the contract.