Bulgaria sells its tobacco monopoly

SOFIA, Bulgaria (AP) — Bulgaria says it has struck a deal to sell its tobacco monopoly Bulgartabac Holding to a company controlled by VTB, Russia’s second-largest bank, for euro100.1 million ($136.8 million).

Bulgartabac Holding

Bulgartabac Holding

The government’s Privatization Agency said in a statement Tuesday that Austrian-registered BT Invest has won the tender to buy a 79.8 percent stake in the tobacco company.

The buyer is committed to keeping its stake for the next five years and maintain the number of employees at 2,400 over the next three years. It also committed to buying 5,000 tons a year of locally grown tobacco over the next five years.

The deal is important for the country as it struggles with debt. Five previous attempts to sell the company had failed over claims of procedural flaws.

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