A representative delegation of IBEC headed by the Chairman of the Board Denis Ivanov and a Member of the Board from Bulgaria Boyko Kotzev visited the capital of Bulgaria, Sofia, in mid-June.
The main goal of the trip was to impart new quality to the Bank’s work in the Bulgarian sector, to present IBEC new economic profile to the economic leadership of the country and the leaders of Bulgarian business, new opportunities for cooperation and implement the Bank’s mandate as a multilateral development institution supporting foreign trade and small and medium business. Following the last IBEC Days event in Poland in February of this year, during which new IBEC opportunities were presented to the Polish business community, the Bulgarian mission of the Bank was the next large-scale action to promote IBEC business in its member countries.
The Bulgarian program opened with a visit to the Bulgarian Export Insurance Agency (BAEZ), where the parties discussed the provisions of the cooperation agreement, which will be signed shortly. The document assumes targeted use of IBEC's capabilities in insurance support for Bulgarian exporters.
IBEC has signed two memorandums with Bulgarian Development Bank (BDB), leading national development institute. The first concerns bilateral cooperation between IBEC and BDB. With the signing of the second, IBEC joined the platform created by BDB and supported by 11 development banks from the Balkan region and the countries of Central and Eastern Europe in order to implement joint initiatives and co-finance projects from the region.
The signing of this document took place as a part of the International Economic Forum "Roads for Partnership", organized by Bulgarian Development Bank, which took place on June 17 and 18 in Sofia.
Of particular importance were the meetings of the IBEC leadership with the ministers of the economic bloc of the Bulgarian government. The Minister of Economy, Mr. Karanikolov, as the head of the BDB, BAEZ and the Bulgarian Small and Medium Enterprises Promotion Agency, stressed that the Ministry will fully support IBEC activities related to business in Bulgaria.
The Minister of Finance, Mr. Goranov, stressed that he and his team are closely following the development of the Bank and the positive changes taking place in it. Separately, the meeting at the Ministry of Finance of Bulgaria touched upon the prospects for increasing the Bank’s business through expanding the foreign trade potential of local companies. The Minister noted the strategic importance of the work of IBEC in the direction of supporting Bulgarian exports and close cooperation with the Development Bank of Bulgaria.
At a meeting in the Bulgarian Small and Medium Enterprises Promotion Agency, a member of the Board, Boyko Kotzev, acquainted the representatives of the Agency with the ambitious goals of IBEC to stimulate trade relations, both between Bank member states and from member countries to third countries. The agency proposed to include information on cooperation opportunities with IBEC in the programs of its forums and meetings with small and medium-sized businesses.
During the trip, the Bank made presentations in two of the largest national business associations: the Bulgarian Chamber of Commerce and Industry and the Bulgarian Industrial Capital Association. In the course of the negotiations with the Chairman of the BCCI, Mr. Simeonov, and the President of the Investment Council at the Bulgarian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Mr. Tomov, in particular, the possibilities of using the Chamber’s platform to disseminate information about the Bank among Bulgarian entrepreneurs were discussed. To date, more than 50 thousand companies are members of the Chamber, which provides great opportunities for finding potential clients. At the same time, IBEC has a signed memorandum with the BCCI, and the Bank is a member of the Chamber's Investment Council.
A similar range of topics was also discussed at the meeting at the Bulgarian Industrial Capital Association. Agreements were reached on the participation of IBEC representatives in business events conducted by the Association and on posting information about the Bank on the official website of the organization.
Member of the Board Mr. Kotzev spoke at the Business and the Regions conference organized by The Economist, where he presented information about IBEC and the possibilities for the Bank to participate in financing projects of Bulgarian companies.
The IBEC delegation also held a series of bilateral meetings with Bulgarian companies – potential partners and customers of the Bank. Agreements have been reached on cooperation with leading Bulgarian banks – the Municipal Bank, CITI Bank of Bulgaria, DSC Bank. Negotiations were held with the leading pharmaceutical company Sopharma, a major sugar producer – Zakharni Zavodi, Octa Light, a manufacturer of lighting equipment, Yelprom Trafo, a manufacturer of transformers and cable products, and EkoBulPak, a garbage collection and recycling operator.
“The intensification of fruitful contacts in the Bulgarian market, both at the level of state bodies and in the business environment, makes it possible to count on a real growth of the Bulgarian portfolio in IBEC operations by the end of this year,” said Chairman of the Board Denis Ivanov. The head of IBEC is confident that this process will be greatly assisted by the Bulgarian government and the realization of the potential for cooperation with the Bulgarian development institutions.