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Bulgaria to set up giant energy company

Bulgaria is to merge five power companies into one of the largest energy entities in the region, the government’s information service said Wednesday.

Bulgarian Energy Holding will be composed of gas company Bulgargaz, National Electric Company, Kozloduy nuclear power plant, Maritza-Iztok II thermal power plant and Mini Maritza Iztok (Maritza Iztok mines), the report said . The consolidation is expected to be completed by the end of 2008, with assets totaling €4 billion ($5.8 billion) and an estimated annual profit of €1.8 billion ($2.6 billion), it said. The government will hold a 100% stake in the company. The Energy and Economy Ministry will hold up to 75% of the stakes in each of the five energy companies, while the minority shares, varying from 25% to 49%, will be transferred to the newly established company, according to the report. The consolidation was aimed at sharpening competitiveness and enhancing effectiveness and service quality, it added. (