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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Bulgaria Speeds Up State Sell-Offs

SOFIA, Bulgaria -- Bulgaria has speeded up the privatization of large firms after years of delay but administrative barriers still hinder smaller sell-offs, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development said.

From 32 percent to 35 percent of the long-term assets of Bulgaria's state-owned enterprises were likely to have been privatized by the end of the year, compared to about 5 percent in August 1996, the bank said in its 1997 report.

The report ascribed progress to an accelerated program of direct sales of some large companies under simplified valuation and administrative procedures.

Outside the program, however, the bank said the institutional set-up for direct sales remained "cumbersome, with some potential for conflicts of interest and unclear responsibilities."

"Sectoral ministries remain responsible for the sale of most assets with a book value of less than $1 million, but they are actively managing many of those same companies," the report said, noting that a draft law to simplify the structure was under discussion.

The government signed a new stand-by accord with the International Monetary Fund in April and introduced a restrictive monetary regime known as a currency board in July.