Are there any surprises expected in the new cabinet - who and with what expertise will lead the economy and energy?

Industry / Analysis / Interview , Bulgaria
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Galina Alexandrova

The president is expected to announce the dissolution of the National Assembly and schedule new elections and appoint a caretaker government early next week. This will be the fourth cabinet appointed by Rumen Radev. Awaiting the official announcement, before the last days, many names of future ministers are already being mentioned in the public space.

It is still not clear who will head the new government, but the name of the former social minister in the previous cabinet - Galab Donev - is being floated. So far there is no confirmation from him. According to analysts, he is a good expert on social policies, but he is too soft and would have a hard time resisting the crises and the associated public discontent and pressure for more social policies for the people and for new and new compensations for business against the background of galloping inflation. Donev obviously does not have good training and expertise for policies in the energy sector in the country, but in the context of European rules, directives and regulations.

Who have been appointed or proposed as ministers so far:

Former Deputy Prime Minister Atanas Pekanov is also expected to return to the cabinet with the portfolio of European funds.

Regarding the economy, it is said that Sofia Kasidova may take over the post. According to unofficial information, she refused the offer of Minister of Economy.

Ambassador Marin Raykov is expected to be appointed as foreign minister. The alternative candidate is the other career diplomat and former minister Svetlan Stoev.

Ivan Demerdzhiev and Vencislav Katinov are getting married for interior minister.

The competing candidacy - the party opposition of Kornelia Ninova hopes that the place will be offered to Daniela Vezieva, who would exonerate her predecessor, suspected of secretly exporting Bulgarian weapons to Ukraine, as well as dilute the massive appointments of party comrades made by Ninova in order to strengthen her position as chairman of "Positano"20.

According to unconfirmed information, Krum Zarkov may become Minister of Justice. However, he was hesitant to take the post.

Health care is expected to be taken over by former minister Tanya Andreeva.

The name of Stella Baltova is being mentioned for the Minister of Tourism, but the tourism business has categorically opposed this candidacy.

Vesela Lecheva got married as Minister of Sports. She is in her house in Greece, I don't think she has been spoken to at all.

Velislav Minekov very much wanted to be the Minister of Culture again, but this time there are no good prospects for his approval.

The situation in the energy sector

In Bulgaria, it is becoming a rule for ministers of energy to appoint people who have no idea about the sector. The latest example is the former Alexander Nikolov from ITN, otherwise we have witnessed energy managers such as Petar Dimitrov (BSP), Dragomir Stoynev also from BSP - who on the last day of the administration of the then government of Plamen Oresharski signed a contract with "Westinghouse" in the nuclear area concerning fuel supplies and the construction of nuclear reactors. Yesterday's government ended its management in the energy sector also with agreements with "Westinghouse" to replace Russian nuclear fuel with American, thank God nothing was signed. Because this requires a lot of analysis and testing, and it is likely that the results will not be good, as happened a long time ago with the Temelin NPP in the Czech Republic.

Now there is talk of a new energy minister in the future cabinet, which we expect to be appointed by President Radev.

In the energy sector, there are two nominations - for the suspended boss of "Bulgargaz" Nikolay Pavlov and for the chairman of the Board of Directors of "Energoremont Holding" for Rosen Hristov - a person from the Dutch "Ditsman".

Nikolay Pavlov is the Minister of Energy in one of the first offices of President Radev. He was fired by the PP government. With all the obstructions to Pavlov and his policy in the gas field, the fact is that both as a minister and as the executive director of Bulgargaz, he pursued a policy that ensured natural gas supplies at affordable prices for the economy, ensured liquidity of the gas stock exchange in our country, which is a significant contribution to the liberalization of the market.

He was able to ensure a profit for the company, despite the complex international situation in the sector and price records, he maintained affordable prices for the blue fuel, finding a way to buy and secure gas reserves at prices that would not block production, trade and supplies to the end user. During his administration, a reduction in the prices of blue fuel was achieved under the contract with Gazprom.

According to the rumors, "multi-millionaires Valentin Zlatev and Bogomil Manchev are trying to set up Rosen Hristov as Minister of Energy" It is interesting to look for a connection with Bogomil Manchev, who is popular as an undisputed authority and expert in energy - a thesis that is questionable. It is probably referring to the position of Rosen Hristov in Energoremont holding, in which Manchev knew each other well and worked on projects with the former director and then co-chairman of the holding Teodor Osikovsky. However, this was before the acquisition of the holding by Dietzmann. Manchev himself does not recognize Rosen Hristov as a close friend, what's more - he openly expresses doubts about his capacity and competence for the post of energy minister.

Rosen Hristov became famous in our country less than 10 years ago, after the Dutch company "Ditsman" bought 97% of "Energoremont Holding" and Hristov, as a representative of Ditsman, was appointed chairman of the company's management board.

Mergers and acquisitions

What he is known for is that he is a specialist in acquisitions, mergers and restructuring of companies. It is also known that before and after the purchase of the holding, he met with acting Prime Minister Ognyan Gerdzhikov, as well as with Deputy Prime Minister Tomislav Donchev and Minister of Energy Temenuzhka Petkova. And strangely - according to unofficial information, projects such as Kozloduy and Belene NPP were discussed at these meetings. Perhaps the closeness with these people - especially with Gerdzhikov, who was an example in one of Rumen Radev's caretaker governments and enjoys the trust of the president, will be a good certificate for Rosen Hristov when deciding who should be prime minister.

It would be logical for a person like Rumen Hristov to enter the energy sector - but not in the highest position - minister, in the sector where policies must be made and, at the moment, crises must be solved. A specialist like him might have a place in BEH or in one of the subsidiary companies if a real restructuring in the sector begins. Leaving aside the fact that such intentions are still lacking, there is no legal environment for their realization, even more so in a caretaker government without special powers and without a parliament.

Now, crisis issues must be resolved – filling the half-empty gas storage in Chiren, the chaos and unknowns in gas supplies, price records for gas, electricity, and soon heat energy, which crush businesses and households. Today, one of our large chemical plants - Neohim Dimitrovgrad, declared bankruptcy and halted production due to high gas prices, and, more importantly - due to the lack of any certainty as to whether there will be gas supplies, when and in what quantities prices - something that does not allow the company, as well as other businesses, to plan their production costs even for a week ahead.

Bulgargaz is also facing bankruptcy, as well as the main debtor of the public gas supplier Sofia District Heating.

The challenge is the unbearable energy prices, which financially burden other businesses and households, the uncertain supplies of natural gas and the lack of any openness in the negotiations for new supplies and the prices for them. A big problem is that until now - in a period of more than 10 years, no formula has been invented for energy-poor consumers in Bulgaria, which would allow adequate social support and stop the practice of giving subsidies/benefits to kalpak - from which they earn the big users and the small ones get almost nothing or very little..

Electricity and gas prices have totally squeezed businesses in the free market. Because of the expensive gas, Neohim Dimitrovgrad has already announced that it will stop working - logically, because for the company, gas is not only fuel, but also a raw material in the production process. Let's also not forget that next year household consumers will also enter the market - how, at what prices, under what conditions they will shop is absolutely unclear, despite the expiring deadlines. The government, whatever it is, must prepare the framework and mechanisms by which this transition must take place.

Is this within the power of an expert only in mergers, acquisitions and restructuring of businesses?!

Who is Rosen Hristov?

Hristov is Bulgarian, but he left the country at the age of 18. He started working for "SKS International", a company that deals with mergers and acquisitions, also from the USA. He was a consultant in Dubai, they liked him and he is going to the headquarters in California. While at this company, he graduated in international economic relations.

During the last 20 years he has lived and worked in different countries. He is a specialist in mergers, acquisitions and company restructuring transactions. He worked in the USA, Mexico, Russia, Arab countries, Greece, France. The scheme for his business is acquisition, 2 years of restructuring and sale. One of his top acquisitions was a company that produced pills to eliminate the breath of alcohol.

His touch with the energy industry is to some extent during his work at Enel, but indirectly, because there he was also exclusively involved in the restructuring of newly acquired companies in Greece, France and Russia. By the way, Enel also invested in Bulgaria in TPP Maritsa East 3, but a few years after entering our country, it withdrew.

In 2009, he moved to the Enel office in Russia. There, the Italians work with the Dutch "Ditsman" and in 2014 Hristov moved to them. It takes over the region of Eastern Europe, Asia and South America - again developing markets. And again, nothing to do with energy - it only works in the field of mergers, acquisitions and restructuring.

And so he came to Bulgaria and the deal for "Energoremont Holding" and his temporary return to his homeland. And here his main task is restructuring the holding.

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