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Business in Bulgaria News Index
Irish Site Targets Migrants, Due in Bulgarian
A new information and social networking site aimed at migrants living in Ireland is to be officially launched next month, siliconrepublic.com reported.

Vaveeva.com will provide information on living and working in Ireland. It will be available in ten languages and will allow users to interact with each other, post blogs, podcasts and video content and find information about living and working in Ireland. Skype is also available on the site.

Currently available in English, Polish and Chinese, the site will be expanded to include Czech, Lithuanian, Russian, Slovakian, Spanish, Bulgarian and Romanian on 15 February.
Bulgaria Expands Killer Bridge near Byala

The project for expanding the bridge near the town of Byala, which claimed the lives of eighteen people at the end of last year, will be ready within a month, officials said.

The killer bridge gained the reputation of "a triangle of death" after dozens of people found their deaths over the last few years there.

Twelve years ago a heavy bus crash there took the lives of twenty-nine Romanians. Later on many more found their death in a series of road accidents.

The deadly section of the road, although of good quality, is too narrow, which has been blamed for the numerous accidents.

Authorities plan to expand the road, including the bridge where the crash occurred, into a four-lane artery.

Bulgaria Presents Annual Report on Medium, Small Enterprises
Bulgaria Presents Annual Report on Medium, Small Enterprises

Business
Bulgaria's energy minister presented the annual report on the condition and development of small and medium enterprises.

The report is prepared by the Consultant Council for encouraging small and medium enterprises.

On Tuesday's meeting the Council discussed the strategy for development of these enterprises for the years 2007 through 2014.

The sum for the 7-year long program for competitiveness of the small and medium enterprises is over BGN 1 B, which makes a little over BGN 100 M per year, Energy Minister Rumen Ovcharov said at the meeting.

The current number of such enterprises in Bulgaria is 222, 000, which means they represent 99% of all enterprises in the country's economy.
Residential Prices in Bulgaria Up by Up to 15% in 2007
Residential Prices in Bulgaria Up by Up to 15% in 2007

Business
Average price levels of residential properties on the middle market in Bulgaria will increase by 5% - 10% in 2007, the first year of the country's EU accession, experts say.

Luxurious newly built apartments and properties at key locations will command a higher increase in prices - an average of 15%, according to realtors' forecasts, cited by 24 Hours daily.

Low prices, long-term investment prospects and changes in lifestyle fuelled record-high property sales in Bulgaria for 2006.

The year-end count of transactions is forecast to reach 260,000 at a combined value of more than EUR 5 B, according to figures of BulgarianProperties.com, partner of foreign property buyers in Bulgaria.

The experts comment that following the massive 25% to 30% annual capital gains of recent years, Bulgaria's property market is now showing a much more realistic growth rate of 15% so far this year, setting the pattern for more predictable and sustainable long-term investment.
Bulgaria, Romania Leapfrog Greece in Economic Freedom Index
Bulgaria, Romania Leapfrog Greece in Economic Freedom Index

Business
Bulgaria and Romania overtook Greece in the Index of Economic Freedom, according to a survey prepared by Heritage Foundation and the Wall Street Journal.

Bulgaria's economy is 62.2 percent free, according to the foundation's 2007 assessment, which makes it the world's 62nd freest economy. Romania ranks 67th and Greece 94th.

Bulgaria's score marked a drop by 2.1 percentage points in comparison with last year, partially reflecting new methodological detail. Bulgaria is ranked 29th freest among the 41 countries in the European region, and its overall score is near the regional average.

Bulgaria scores highly in fiscal freedom and receives positive marks in business freedom, monetary freedom, and financial freedom. An impressively low corporate tax rate of 15 percent complements a top income tax rate of 24 percent. Licensing, opening, and closing a business are all relatively efficient, providing a highly flexible commercial environment.

The survey points out that Bulgaria still needs to develop a more independent judicial system and more efficient fight against corruption, which might impede greater foreign investment.

The 2007 Index of Economic Freedom measures and ranks 161 countries across 10 specific freedoms, things like tax rates and property rights.

Hong Kong remains as the world's freest economy for the 12th consecutive year, according to the Heritage Foundation's annual ranking. Singapore and Australia were ranked No. 2 and 3 respectively.
Bulgaria's National Radio Neck-Deep in Royalty Debts
Thu 25 January 2007 15:35


Bulgaria's National Radio Neck-Deep in Royalty Debts

Business
Bulgaria's National Radio (BNR) has accumulated a debt of BGN 2 M in royalties, local collecting society Musicauthor announced.

The company announced at a press conference Thursday that they will prevent the radio from playing any royalty-due artists on the air, unless the money is finally paid.

"We have already alerted Culture Minister Stefan Danailov that as of Tuesday, the radio has no right to play the songs of the Bulgarian or foreign artists we represent," Musicauthor's CEO Tsetsa Eftimova said. She explained that the company didn't have the right to enforce the ban, but there were other institutions that should take care of that.

BNR head Polya Stancheva said that the radio's budget of BGN 37 M for 2007 wasn't prepared to cover the cash as they expected a much lower sum. The money the radio has been paying until now was laughable compared to what artists are getting in the EU, so the society couldn't continue charging it so little.
Bulgaria's Nuke Modernization Done by End-2007
Bulgaria's Nuke Modernization Done by End-2007

Business
Bulgaria will wrap up the modernization of the units 5&6 of the Nuclear Power Plant in Kozloduy by the end of 2007.

The plant's manager Ivan Genov announced that the aim of the modernization was keeping a high safety level and prolonging the units' operational life by 15 to 20 years.

So far the plant has completed 95% of the nukes' modernization programme and the rest will be completed by the end of the year.
Romania and Bulgaria celebrate EU entry
Romania and Bulgaria celebrate EU entry

Business
By Christopher Condon in Bucharest and Theodor Troev in Sofia
January 1 2007

Romanians and Bulgarians celebrated the most historic moment for their countries since they overthrew communism in 1989, marking their entry into the European Union with festivities that added doses of pride and hope to the usual New Year's revelry.

In Bucharest, Romania's capital, in the square where an angry crowd shouted down Nicolae Ceausescu, the communist dictator, just before his overthrow in December 1989, tens of thousands counted down the seconds to midnight. Fireworks then lit the night sky and Beethoven's Ode to Joy played while small groups formed circles and danced the Hora, a traditional Romania folk dance.

Several people in the crowd talked of their hope for a better life within the EU. Conscious of Romania's poor international image, many also said they believed Romania now had a chance to make a better name for itself.

"This is an opportunity to show the people of Europe what is good in Romania," said Pamela Craciun, 23.

Marian Gheorghescu, 33, who carried his 4 year-old son, Bogdan, on his shoulders, said he believed EU membership would secure a bright future for his children. "I hope in this country he will have a life a thousand times better than mine," he said.

Earlier in the evening, Traian Basescu, the president, and Calin Tariceanu, the prime minister, were joined by Joseph Borrell, president of the European Parliament, and Olli Rehn, the EU's enlargement commissioner, for a ceremonial raising of the EU flag.

Mr Basescu touched on the widespread feeling among Romanians that the country was excluded from its rightful place in Europe since the Soviet Union consolidated its hold on eastern Europe following the second world war. "This represents the will of the Romanian people to come back to Europe," he said.

In Sofia, the Bulgarian capital, an equally large crowd inundated Batenberg Square for a similar celebration featuring fireworks, rock music and flag waving.

Georgi Parvanov, Bulgaria's president, called the night "among the most important dates in Bulgaria's history".

In a recorded video message, Jose Manuel Barroso, president of the European Commission, delivered a congratulatory message to the crowd in Sofia. "Welcoming two new members in the family, we know that our culture and heritage will be richer and our economy will be boosted," he said.

This latest enlargement of the EU adds 29m, mostly poor, new citizens to the union and stretches its borders to the Black Sea. Romania and Bulgaria each has a per capita GDP equal to about one-third the EU average.

When they awake on Monday, little will have changed for the average Bulgarian or Romanian. Corruption, incompetence and a lack of infrastructure will remain as obstacles to alleviating widespread poverty, especially in the countryside. Nor will they enjoy all the rights of EU citizens. Fearing an influx of cheap labour, most EU members have restricted the ability of Romanians and Bulgarians to find legal work in their countries.

Other new tests will emerge, as well. Both countries have so far fallen behind in preparations for handling the huge increase in EU funds available to them.

Romania and Bulgaria will also be under intense scrutiny by EU officials in the coming months watching over whether Sofia and Bucharest fulfil their promises to continue key reforms. Brussels has established a much tougher monitoring system than for the eight central European countries that joined the EU in 2004.

Particular attention will be paid in both countries to the fight against corruption and the continuation of reforms in the judiciary.

Romania and Bulgaria have made significant progress in recent years in these areas, motivated largely by the desire to join the EU. However, many worry that accession will remove the pressure that led to reforms.

Said Ionel Dancu, editor of the Romanian magazine Eurolider: "Our politicians are doing their jobs only under pressure from the EU."

With core EU countries tiring of enlargement demands, how well Romania and Bulgarian proceed with reforms could have important consequences for other countries in southeast Europe, like Croatia and Macedonia, still knocking on the EU's door.

Not all the pressure, however, will be on the new members. Bulgarians have voiced an immediate demand for help from the EU in securing the freedom of five Bulgarian nurses who, along with a Palestinian doctor, were sentenced to death by a Libyan court last week for allegedly infecting more than 400 children with HIV.

The verdict and sentencing outraged Bulgarians, who have long called for a more active diplomatic effort from the EU on the nurses' behalf. Last night, the vast majority of those celebrating Bulgaria's EU entry wore red, white and green ribbon - the country's national colours - showing their support for the five nurses.

In a recent commentary, Milena Hristova, editor-in-chief of the Sofia News Agency wrote that "the trial in Libya will be Sofia's first test for Brussels".
Irish Air Carrier Flies to Bulgaria's Burgas
Irish Air Carrier Flies to Bulgaria's Burgas

Business
Irish XL Leisure Group announced the launch of a new holiday destination to Bulgaria's Black Sea town of Burgas.

Direct flights will operate from Ireland West Airport Knock every Monday from May 7th to October 1st, 2007, Irish Roscommon Herald said.

XL Leisure Group is a wholly owned subsidiary of XL Airways, one of the world's leading charter airlines.

"The new service to Burgas provides people here in our region with a more direct and accessible route to Eastern Europe and to the fastest growing holiday destination from Ireland," said Liam Scollan, Managing Director of Ireland West Airport Knock.
Bulgaria - Turkey Merchandise Exchange to Reach USD 4 B in 2007
Bulgaria - Turkey Merchandise Exchange to Reach USD 4 B in 2007

Business
The exchange of merchandise between Bulgaria and Turkey is expected to reach USD 4 B in 2007, Bulgarian Energy Minister Rumen Ovcharov announced.

The exchange is likely to reach USD 8 B until 2010.

Bulgaria's energy minister and Turkey's Minister of State Kursad Tuzmen came to this agreement on Thursday. The prognosis was announced in the framework of the 17th session of the Bulgaria-Turkey intergovernmental committee for economic and technical cooperation.

Minister Tuzmen underlined that the direct investments of Turkey in Bulgaria are already amounting to USD 600 M and they could run up to USD 1 B in 2010.
M3 Communications College Awards Weekend Course Graduates
M3 Communications College Awards Weekend Course Graduates

Business
M3 Communications College, the first Bulgarian fully licensed college of marketing and Public Relations, awarded diplomas to fifteen students who successfully completed Bulgaria's only intensive weekend course in PR.

For seven weekends the students had to master the theoretical basis of PR. Students also had the opportunity to meet with PR practitioners and to take part in solving real life PR tasks.

Maxim Behar, Chairman of the Board of Directors, congratulated in person every graduate on their successful completion of the weekend course in Public Relations.

"This college was founded with the only purpose of sharing the knowledge," Maxim Behar said at the event.

The college will open its 2007 academic year on February 19.
Bulgaria, Romania Leapfrog Greece in Economic Freedom Index
Bulgaria, Romania Leapfrog Greece in Economic Freedom Index

Business
Bulgaria and Romania overtook Greece in the Index of Economic Freedom, a survey prepared by Heritage Foundation and the Wall Street Journal.

Bulgaria's economy is 62.2 percent free, according to the survey 2007 assessment, which makes it the world's 62nd freest economy. Romania ranks 67 and Greece 94.

Bulgaria's score marked a drop by 2.1 percentage points in comparison with last year, partially reflecting new methodological detail. Bulgaria is ranked 29th freest among the 41 countries in the European region, and its overall score is near the regional average.

Bulgaria scores highly in fiscal freedom and receives positive marks in business freedom, monetary freedom, and financial freedom. An impressively low corporate tax rate of 15 percent complements a top income tax rate of 24 percent. Licensing, opening, and closing a business are all relatively efficient, providing a highly flexible commercial environment.

The survey points out that Bulgaria still needs to develop a more independent judicial system and more efficient fight against corruption, which might impede greater foreign investment.

The 2007 Index of Economic Freedom measures and ranks 161 countries across 10 specific freedoms, things like tax rates and property rights.
Low-Cost Airlines Boost Property Prices in Bulgaria, Baltic States
Low-Cost Airlines Boost Property Prices in Bulgaria, Baltic States

Business
Low-cost airlines are one of the best indicators to where property hotspots will be in the next few years, as the boom in Bulgaria and the Baltic states has shown, overseas real estate experts say, as cited by the Independent.

"I've always said the low-cost airlines are the leading indicator to where hotspots will be in the next few years. We have seen it in Bulgaria and the Baltic states," says Justin Figgins of the Rightmove Overseas property website.

However, the arrival of cheap flights is not in itself enough to transform a developing economy into a major tourist destination, the article points out, citing once again Bulgaria's experience.

"Low-cost flights are one of the main indicators, but you must also look at tourism growth and infrastructure investment," Figgins says. "In Bulgaria, the infrastructure is still poor, but tourism is growing in Morocco and lots of infrastructure is going in. To me, that makes it more likely to be profitable as an investment location."

The expert believes that a substantial increase recenlty in the number of low-cost routes from the UK to Morocco will create the next hotspot.

On the other hand, some destinations that have been highly regarded by British holidaymakers and expats are not served well by low-cost airlines, the Independent comments.

"What is puzzling to me is why the low-cost airlines have not flocked to Cyprus, where the weather is good, people speak English and English law prevails. If they did, it would really open up," Figgins wonders.

World Bank Board Appoints Zoellick President
World Bank Board Appoints Zoellick President

World
Robert Zoellick, former US trade representative, won unanimous approval from the World Bank executive board to become the institution'ss next president, the bank said on Monday.

Zoellick replaces Paul Wolfowitz, forced to resign last month after a scandal over his role in giving his partner a pay rise.

Wolfowitz' management style, described as abrasive by the bank's staff, and some of his initiatives, seen as an extension of the Bush administration's policies, created rifts within the institution, which Zoellick will have to heal as he starts his five-year term on Sunday.

"Zoellick brings to the bank presidency strong leadership and managerial qualities as well as a proven track record in international affairs and the drive required to enhance the credibility and effectiveness of the bank," the board said in a statement.

Zoellick, 53, holds a doctor of law degree from the Harvard Law School and a master of public administration from the Kennedy School of Government.

He has played a leading role in efforts to revive the Doha trade round and has widespread experience of and high-level contacts with Europe, China, Latin America and Africa.
Overheating Bulgaria Still Best for Overseas Property Investment
Overheating Bulgaria Still Best for Overseas Property Investment

Business
Bulgaria has been named the best destination for overseas property investment, even though its tourist hotspots are showing signs of overheating, according to a new research.

UK ranks as the best for investment returns with Bulgaria second, says the quarterly investment tracker, released by British investment firm Assetz. Making up the rest of the top five are Canada, Cape Verde and Cyprus respectively.

Bulgaria maintains a strong position in the tracker with a total of 71% return on cash invested, but Assetz advised caution to investors, especially in the tourist hotspots such as Sunny Beach and Bansko where there is a severe oversupply of apartments.

Local agents are reporting a lack of demand resulting in weak rental yields being achieved and the resale market is still unproven, the company said.

However, average prices have increased from 17.3% to 22.5% annually in June 2007, possibly due to a number of âprestige' developments coming onto the market.

Assets commented that the rate of growth in many countries, such as Poland and Bulgaria, could not continue at a rate of 20 - 30%, and a reduction to a more stable and realistic rate of growth was necessary.
Bulgaria Ready to Launch Tender for Plovdiv Airport Concession
Bulgaria Ready to Launch Tender for Plovdiv Airport Concession

Business
Bulgaria could launch the tender for the concession of the Plovdiv airport in the near future after the transport and defence ministries have reached a settlement in their long-standing dispute over a runway stretch, officials said on Monday.

The defence ministry agreed to give up its claims on the runway in exchange for land elsewhere, Bulgarian Transport Minister Petar Mutafchiev said.

The transport ministry will also spend BGN 8 M as compensation for the expropriation of private property on and around the airport.

The ministry plans to build an intermodal cargo terminal, using a nearby rail station.

However, it remains yet unclear whether the terminal would be managed under concession or whether the ministry will set up a joint public-private venture company for that.
Bulgaria's Coastal Nessebar, Sozopol Pool Efforts over Ports Management
Bulgaria's Coastal Nessebar, Sozopol Pool Efforts over Ports Management

Business
Officials from the southern Black Sea towns of Nessebar and Sozopol have agreed to cooperate in making the municipalities owners of the ports.

Several hundred citizens of Nessebar have joined a sign-up, demanding that the currently state-owned port be transferred to the municipality.

The news comes just weeks after the government decided to turn the ports at the Black Sea towns of Pomorie, Ahtopol and Tsarevo municipality-owned.

The ports have been owned so far by the state-owned Port Infrastructure.

The decision of the government turns the sites into private property and transfer the ownership to the municipalities to manage and develop them.
Orchid Development To Invest over EUR 100 M for Varna Mall
Orchid Development To Invest over EUR 100 M for Varna Mall

Business
Orchid Developments Group, a UK-listed property developer and hotel operator focusing on the Bulgarian market, plans to invest upward of EUR 100 M in the construction of its Grand Mall Varna.

The 150 000 square meters mall will include 45 000 square meters of commercial space for lease, as well as 40 000 square meters of office space.

Work on the project will start before the end of the summer and will be completed by end-2009.

Israeli firm Moore-Yasky-Sivan Architects (M-Y-S) will carry out the architectural design and oversight, together with Varna firm LAGIS Ltd.

M-Y-S also designed Mall of Sofia, which opened last year, while former Mall of Sofia chief executive Eli Egosi will act as consultant on the project.

Real estate consultants Colliers International will handle all leasing contracts in the complex.

The project has been recognised as a first-class investment by the country's investment agency BAI, which entitles it to certain tax breaks and state aid.
Bulgaria's M-Tel Reaches 5 Million Subscribers
Bulgaria's M-Tel Reaches 5 Million Subscribers

Business
Bulgaria's biggest cellphone operator M-Tel, majority owned by Telekom Austria, said it has reached five million subscribers on Christmas Day.

The lucky customer, a 29-year-old resident of Stara Zagora, will receive a Porsche Design exclusive cellphone and will become the star in one of the episodes of the "No Luggage" travel show broadcast by Nova Televizia channel.

The company had launched a massive promotional campaign before Christmas, aiming to get five million customers before the end of the year.

The luckiest participants in a texting game will win one of the 88 Volkswagen Polo cars that the company is giving away, while pre-paid customers had a pick of promotional offers ranging from a bottle of wine to the Guinness book of world records and a Christmas tree.

M-Tel is Bulgaria's biggest mobile operator, both by revenue and subscriber base, ahead of Greek Cosmote's unit Globul and Vivatel, owned by Bulgaria's dominant fixed-line telecom BTC.

Houses for sale in Bulgaria in Granitovo in Bulgaria 38000
Houses for sale in Bulgaria in Granitovoin Bulgaria 38000
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Houses for sale in Bulgaria in Pobeda in Bulgaria 10300
Houses for sale in Bulgaria in Pobedain Bulgaria 10300
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Houses for sale in Bulgaria in Kirilovo in Bulgaria 38000
Houses for sale in Bulgaria in Kirilovoin Bulgaria 38000
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Bulgarian properties commercial in Kirilovo in Bulgaria 29995
Bulgarian properties commercial in Kirilovoin Bulgaria 29995
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Houses for sale in Bulgaria in Elhovo in Bulgaria 7000
Houses for sale in Bulgaria in Elhovoin Bulgaria 7000
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