Access to finance02 November 2009
by Ina Dimireva -- last modified 24 May 2012
Finance for small and medium sized enterprises in Bulgaria can be obtained by anyone who is a trader according to the Commercial Law, as well as self-employed tradespeople or freelancers, if their activity can be considered to be an enterprise as per the Commercial Law.
Access to finance for companies who want to operate in Bulgaria can be achieved in a number of ways. The simplest way, in terms of procedures, is by taking out a loan from a bank that operates in Bulgaria.
On the Bulgarian National Bank website you can find a full list of banks that are licensed to operate in Bulgaria.
Bank operations are subject to the laws in force in Bulgaria which determine the essential requirements for releasing credit.
As for raising of funds on the capital market, special laws are in force which regulate this.
The administrative procedures for applying for credit from commercial banks are determined by the banks themselves and are described in detail on the internet websites of these institutions. The state has strict requirements on the banking system in order to keep the system stable.
When a corporate decision is made to raise finance by listing on the Bulgarian Stock Exchange (BSE), a whole set of legislation applies, which has been devised in order to guarantee the administrative stability of the capital market. In order to be listed on the stock exchange, a company must be a public one. The company prepares a prospectus of public offering which has to be approved by the Financial Supervision Commission (FSC). Details of the procedural steps for this can be found on the FSC website.
As well as the provision of traditional types of loans, many banks in Bulgaria now offer financial means to businesses through so-called 'factoring'. This is a financial service which includes:
- Finance based on the accounts receivable by the suppler of goods and services, i.e. based on payments due by clients to the supplier;
- Administration of the receivable accounts of the supplier;
- Stimulating the increase in commercial turnover between the supplier and its clients.
A credit line for energy efficiency and renewable energy sources has been created for relevant projects. It was devised by the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) in cooperation with the Bulgarian government and the European Union. The programme grants credit lines to participating Bulgarian banks, which then grant loans to private companies for energy efficiency in industry and renewable energy projects.
Credit Line [BG]
Credit lines are also offered by the European Investment Bank (EIB) and the Kozloduy International Decommissioning Support Fund (KIDS). The credit line combines loans from the EIB with grants from KIDS.
Credit Line [BG]
Finance can also be sought from non-banking financial institutions. Some of them are licensed investment brokers that offer the possibility to invest the funds of actual and legal entities in the capital market with to attain profitability.
Another possibility for access to finance is by the release of an obligated loan with a specific time period for repayment. Information about such loans is provided by investment brokers.
One of the most widespread means for the financing of company activities is by listing the company on the stock exchange. In the past few years the Bulgarian stock market has grown very dynamically and a significant number of companies now trade there.
In Bulgaria, various non-governmental funds with international participation are also available. They offer financing to companies that operate in Bulgaria in various sectors.
In recent years, many individuals, as well as companies, have used the services of finance brokers to obtain credit. This makes procedures easier for businesses and saves time. This option usually means that the cost of loans does not increase. Many brokers offer free consultation in order to assess the requirements of the client.
Further information about assistance for companies that want to invest in Bulgaria can be found on the EBRD website, which is focuses especially on the encouragement of foreign investors in the Bulgarian economy.
The EBRD website provides details of all relevant procedures and types of financing, some of which also include financial supplements that have already been agreed to with commercial banks.
Another institution with such a function is the Bulgarian American Enterprise Fund. This fund has the key goal of assisting small and medium sized enterprises and encouraging joint enterprises between Bulgarian and western European companies.
The Bulgarian government also has devised schemes and programmes for the financing of enterprises. Such is the case with the Energy Efficiency Fund. This Fund fulfils the functions of a finance institution for the granting and guaranteeing of credit as well as being a centre for consultation. Projects that the Fund focuses on are related to energy saving.
Jointly with the European Union, the 'Intelligent Energy Europe' programme operates in Bulgaria. Local contacts work together on the preparation of applications for finance. This includes consultation on technical and administrative issues regarding tenders for project proposals, finding project partners and involvement in national resources for co-financing, wherever applicable.
Bulgaria provides national coordinators in the National Contact Network of the Seventh Framework Programme. These coordinators are divided amongst 20 different industry sectors according to their area of speciality. Financing programmes and their durations are posted on the network's website. These programmes focus on applied science fields.
Personalised help and advice
The Enterprise Europe Network provides businesses with information and advice through its local partners.
Source: Your Europe