Archive for April, 2013

Gazprom profits slide on lower gas sales

Tuesday, April 30th, 2013

World’s largest producer suffers a fall in volumes while having to compensate European customers who claimed that Russian prices were too high

Outstanding Debts of Bulgarian Municipalities Shrink to BGN 156.6 M

Tuesday, April 30th, 2013

Outstanding debts of Bulgarian municipalities amounted to BGN 156.6 M by March 31, 2013, down by BGN 40 M from the same period of 2012, according to statistics of the Finance Ministry.

A total of 111 Bulgarian municipalities (42%) had outstanding debts by the end of the first quarter of 2013.

By the end of Q1, 2013, 106 municipalities managed to reduce their debts, while 67 increased the amount of delayed payments.

By the end of the first quarter of 2013, Bulgarian municipalities had outstanding debts amounting to a total of BGN 933 M.

According to Finance Ministry data, the Sofia Municipality achieved one of the biggest decreases in outstanding debt by over BGN 5.8 M to BGN 7.37 M by March 31, 2013.

In Q1, 2013, the southeastern municipality of Yambol managed to clear all debts, while the southern municipality of Plovdiv increased outstanding debts by BGN 852 000 to BGN 10.9 M, and the debts of the northeastern municipality of Dobrich went up by BGN 447 000.


BP faces 2,200 Deepwater lawsuits

Tuesday, April 30th, 2013

Profits beat expectations as high-margin areas help to offset lower production following impact of $38bn asset disposal programme

Roman Vasilev to Act as Interim Sofia City Prosecutor

Tuesday, April 30th, 2013

Roman Vasilev will replace Nikolay Kokinov at the post of Sofia City Prosecutor until a successor is appointed.

Vasilev will hold the office until a successor of Kokinov is appointed by the Supreme Judicial Council (VSS).

The competition for the post of Sofia City Prosecutor has been scheduled for early June, according to reports of Sega daily.

On Monday, VSS dismissed Nikolay Kokinov from the post of Sofia City Prosecutor.

Kokinov filed his resignation as administrative head of the Sofia City Prosecutor’s Office on Friday after the publication of wiretapped conversations between him, former Prime Minister Boyko Borisov and former Agricultural Minister Miroslav Naydenov in which the three can be heard discussing options for obstructing court proceedings against Naydenov who faces charges of corruption and malfeasance in office.

The leaked transcripts of the conversations between Borisov, Naydenov, and Kokinov came against the backdrop of a wider ‘Watergate’-style scandal involving alleged widespread unauthorized deployment of special surveillance devices against politicians and businessmen during the term in office of Tsvetan Tsvetanov as Interior Minister.

The scandal caused tensions to flare up in the heat of the campaign for the May 12 early parliamentary elections.

Kokinov’s resignation as a prosecutor cannot be put to a vote until the finalization of disciplinary action against him over breaches of the principle of random assignment of cases.

The former Sofia City Prosecutor also faces a hearing at the VSS Ethics Committee on May 13.


UK Online Merchants Must Manage New Royal Mail Rates

Tuesday, April 30th, 2013

royal mail rates

New Royal Mail rates in the United Kingdom have affected small business owners adversely. The issue should serve as a cautionary tale for businesses in the U.S. dependent on the U.S. Postal Service.

The Royal Mail said in a statement when it first proposed the increased rates in December that the changes will bring the service “in line” with other similar postal services across Europe.

Online merchants, especially small businesses, are now being forced to reconsider how they handle their shipping operations, according to a post at WholesaleForums. There, John Hayes writes that business owners in the U.K. need to examine different ways to manage the new rates.

Royal Mail rates rose 3p for First Class standard letters, to 47p per item, and 2p for Second Class standard letters to 33p per item. Metered Royal Mail rates for “large letters” rose 5p per item, to 71p for First Class and 58p for Second Class, according to Post & Parcel, a jobs site for the global mail and express community.

For merchants on a site like eBay, offering free shipping on items is an incentive to the buyer, but the merchant must now consider the new rates when posting a price. Merchants may have to consider slower delivery methods or forgo offering free shipping.

EBay’s Manager of Strategic Shipping Partnerships, James Miles, said in a statement to Tamebay, “These changes are an important reminder that getting the right portfolio of services to serve your customers is vital, with research showing that over 4 in 10 shoppers have abandoned a purchase due to the delivery date not matching their expectations.”

Royal Mail Photo via Shutterstock

The post UK Online Merchants Must Manage New Royal Mail Rates appeared first on Small Business Trends.


Russian Champions Zenit Said to Fancy Berbatov

Tuesday, April 30th, 2013

Russian champions Zenit St. Petersburg are once again eager to snap up Fulham’s Bulgarian striker Dimitar Berbatov, according to a Russian media report.

The Izvestia daily has stated that Zenit are interested in Berbatov as a back-up option if they cannot land Werder Bremen striker Marko Arnautovic.

Berbatov’s agent, Emil Danchev, has allegedly confirmed that Russian clubs are interested in signing his client.

However, Danchev has stated that Zenti have not tabled an official bid for the prolific striker.
It was recently reported that the 32-year-old Bulgarian striker may leave Craven Cottage this summer.


Bulgaria’s Govt Reports 5% Red Tape Reduction

Tuesday, April 30th, 2013

Bulgaria’s caretaker government has adopted a report on the implementation by end-2012 of the second action plan for reducing the administrative burden by 20% for the period 2012-2014.

The plan contains 167 measures for cutting red tape by electronic submission of information, exchange of data between government institutions and bodies, lifting obligations, drafting instructions, simplifying the terminology and reducing the complexity of the legal regulations, according to the press office of the government.

Out of a total of 59 measures scheduled for completion by end-2012, 55, or 93%, have been implemented, and 4 (7%) are facing delays or their implementation is underway.

The implementation of the 59 measures resulted in a reduction of the administrative burden worth BGN 75 M a year, or 5% of the planned 20% reduction.

The delayed measures are the fault of the State Commission for Energy and Water Regulation (DKEVR) and the Ministry of Transport, Information Technology and Communications, and are to be introduced during the next programming period by June 2013.


BP faces 2,200 Deepwater disaster lawsuits

Tuesday, April 30th, 2013

Profits beat expectations as high-margin areas help to offset lower production following impact of $38bn asset disposal programme

Prosecutors: Bulgarian Ex-Interior Min Responsible for Illegal Snooping

Tuesday, April 30th, 2013

The Sofia City Prosecutor’s Office has established that former Interior Minister Tsvetan Tsvetanov has committed a crime, as he has been deemed responsible for the illegal wiretapping done by the Interior Ministry.

On Tuesday, the prosecutors announced that they are dropping the charges pressed against three former directors of the Specialized Directorate Technical Operations of the Interior Ministry, Sergey Katsarov, Kamen Kostov and Tsvetan Ivanov in relation to the wiretapping scandal that has been shaking the country recently.

The prosecutors have established that Tsvetanov was responsible for the actions of the three employees.

The former Interior Minister, who is currently the election campaign manager of his center-right GERB party, has denied any wrongdoing on numerous occasions.

Charges cannot be pressed against Tsvetanov, since he is now running for Parliament, and therefore has immunity.

The scandal broke out at the end of March, when Sergey Stanishev, leader of the Bulgarian Socialist Party (BSP), submitted a tipoff to Chief Prosecutor, Sotir Tsatsarov, about illegal wiretapping of politicians, businesspeople and magistrates which had taken place during  Tsvetanov’s term in office (2009-2013).

Expect details.


Bulgarian Renewable Energy Producers Demand Resignation of Caretaker Minister

Tuesday, April 30th, 2013

The Bulgarian Photovoltaic Association (BPVA) has called for the resignation of Asen Vasilev, caretaker Minister of Economy, Energy and Tourism, over discriminatory treatment of renewable energy producers.

The BPVA published Tuesday an open letter to caretaker Prime Minister Marin Raykov, arguing that local regulatory bodies had resorted to a series of unlawful discriminatory steps against the renewable energy industry.

The BPVA also claimed that Bulgaria’s Electricity System Operator (ESO) imposed unfounded restrictions to the production of energy from renewable sources, thereby threatening the existence of 1.7 thousand producers.

The BPVA further accused the caretaker Economy and Energy Minister of promoting negative attitudes towards renewable energy producers and of pitting employees in different spheres of the energy industry against one another.

The BPVA claimed that Vasilev had been providing institutional protections for industrial power plants, thermal power plants and for certain producers of conventional energy at the expense of the renewable energy industry.

The BPVA also demanded that caretaker Prime Minister Marin Raykov revoke the grid access fee for renewable energy producers.

Seeking to prevent a power grid overload amid low domestic consumption and weak exports, ESO has repeatedly ordered capacity restrictions for renewable energy producers since the beginning of April.


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