Slovak shipmaker sues Bulgarian court

Slovak Shipyards (Slovenské lodenice, SLK) a.s. Komárno brought charges against the Supreme Administrative Court in Bulgaria after the state privatisation agency refused to recognise SLK as the official winner of a public tender for the purchase of 80% of Bulgarian company Ruse Shipyard.

SLK's Director of Development, Jirí Dlouhý, reported that SLK had taken part in a public tender in Bulgaria for the purchase of a share in Ruse Shipyard. An independent privatization agent of the Bulgarian State Agency for Privatisation, the consortium DFC S.A., announced officially on August 5, 1998 that the winner of the tender was SLK. The consortium based its decision on the fact that SLK had prepared the best financial and investment program for Ruse, and that it had a century of entrepreneurial experience and had successfully undergone privatisation.

According to Dlouhý, the State Agency for Privatization did not respect the decision of the DFC consortium, and in conflict with the Bulgarian law on privatization and the rules of the tender issued by DFC, announced the preferred purchaser to be the German company Rousse Shipyard Beteiligungsgeselshaft GmbH - the second company to take interest in the tender. The court gave no reason for its decision.

To defend its international reputation and preventing further damages, SLK brought charges against the Supreme Administrative Court and demanded that the decision be pronounced invalid. SLK also turned to the City Court in Sophia with a request for compensation for the financial losses incurred. SLK's costs in connection with the purchase of Ruse was recently evaluated by the General Director of SLK, Milan Kopčok, to be one billion Sk ($27.4 million).

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