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Deutsche Bank to invest €1 bln in Bulgaria in 2007

Deutsche Bank AG, Germany's biggest bank, will fund energy, road- and bridge- construction projects in Bulgaria worth of €1 bln ($1.3 billion) next year as the Balkan country joins the EU on January 1.

The bank has already invested €500 million in advising investors and funding real estate projects, said Pavel Ezekiev, director of the Deutsche Bank Bulgaria office at a Sofia briefing. The bank accounts for 15% of Bulgaria\'s investment banking and should control one-third of its market next year, he said. „We have already agreed several merger- and acquisition- contracts and arranged funding through capital markets and risk funds,” Ezekiev said. „We focus on fast-growing companies involved in large investment projects, for which local banks lack adequate funds.” He gave no further details. The nation\'s €18.2 billion ($24 billion) economy is expanding as foreigners invest in real estate and factories before it becomes part of the world\'s largest trading region. The economy grew 6.7% in the 3Q, the fastest pace since communism ended 17 years ago. Ten-month foreign investment by October reached €3.2 billion, the highest since 1990. One of the projects is a €65 million residential property construction in Sofia funded by Deutsche bank, through its RREEF real estate investment fund and Winslow Developments Ltd, a UK-registered Bulgarian developer, Ezekiev said. (Bloomberg)