Region Varna - Some basic information

Location : Varna region lies in the northeastern part of Bulgaria and covers a surface of 3820 square kilometers, i.e. about 3.5 % of the total area of Bulgaria. The region has a broad entrance to the black sea. Varna bay is a deep cut, which leads about 30 km deeply into the interior. A water way reaches thus up to the chemistry and the other industrial complexes in the neighbour cities of Devnja, Provadia and Beloslav.

Population : The population of Varna region amounts to about 490,000 inhabitants, by those approx. 70% live in the city of Varna. Varna is the third biggest city of Bulgaria.

Climate : The climate of the region is a very pleasant moderate-continental sea-climate, which prolongs the tourist season up to 150 days.

Natural resources : In the region are won: rock salt, manganese ore, limestone with higher degree of purity, quartz sand, kieselgur and granite. In the Black Sea shelf natural gas has been discovered. In addition a large gas line from the Ukraine crosses the territory of Varna region. A gas line is built, which will lead from the gas sources from Varna shelf to Devnja.

22% of the territory of the region is covered by forest, with estimated approximately 8 million Cubic meter wood.

The water supply of the region is ensured by a network of artificial lakes and local sources of water. In addition the region is very rich at hot sources of mineral water. The iodine and bromine content of the sea water offer in principle possibilities of the industrial production of these products.

Energy: The energy needs of the region are mainly covered by two local combined heat and power stations with an overall capacity of 1500 MW, which are a part of the national energy system.

Technical infrastructure/traffic route : The technical infrastructure of the region is well developed. The road system in the region has a length of 1200 km. In Varna the main traffic line Varna Sofia begins, through Varna leads also the road connection Constanta Varna Burgas Istanbul.

One passenger port and five commercial ports are at the disposal to the transportation by sea. The port is ordered with 30 dock places for general cargo, chemical products, wood, grain, cattle and other goods. It is the largest in Bulgaria and in addition there are two container terminals and a ferry boat terminal. The storage space in dock amounts to about 70,000 square meter considered and about 400,000 square meters as open space. From here ferry boat lines and Ro-Ro-connections with the ports in the Ukraine, Russia and Grusia exist. These lines are of special importance in connection with the realization of the project Rhein Main Danube channel. The largest Bulgarian shipping company has 700,000 TDW, among them tankers, container ships, ferryboats, two-cover ships and ships for bulk material.

The railroad network is very well developed. By means of daily ferry boat lines a direct connection with the national railroad networks of the GUS states exists

Varna has also an international airport, which can take up in the summer tourist season over 100 airplanes daily, among them heavy air freighters. The airport has at present direct connection with 101 cities in 35 countries. The freight amounts at present to 10,000 tons per year.

The telecommunications network in Varna is the best developed in Bulgaria. In Varna 44,4 % of the telecommunications network is digitized, in Varna region 36 %, with a state average of 21 %. The density of telephone lines is 481 per 1000 inhabitants and 300 km fiber optic cable (MAN - ATM/STM). In addition there are digital telephone exchange centers from Siemens and Ericsson.
Varna is one of the basic nodes of two optic cables: KAFOS (connecting Varna with Istanbul and Mangalia/Rumania) and BSFOCS (Black Sea Optic Cable System), which connects Varna with Odessa/Ukraine and Novorisysk/Russia.

With all these possibilities Varna is a natural bridge between Europe, Asia and Africa. It is a large industrialist, transport -, trade -, cultural and scientific center.

Production profile: The production profile of Varna region becomes predominantly determined by metal and mechanical engineering and machine building including shipbuilding and ship repairing, chemical industry, transportation by sea, as well as light and food industry, textile industry, and construction. Numerous companies are working in the fields building of ships, ship repair, production of diesel engines, radar technology, medical technology, production of household appliances, building material and building, production of furniture, textile, canning of fruits and vegetables, alcoholic and alcohol-free beverages, meat products, milk and milk products.

The chemical industry is concentrated in the city of Devnja. There are large capacities for the production of calcined soda, cement, mineral fertilizer, polyvinyl chloride, wash and cleaning agents, household chemistry, household and industrial goods.

Varna region is the largest touristic center of the Bulgarian Black Sea coast. The health resort complexes have more than 135 hotels with a capacity of more than 35000 beds and 200 reconvalescent homes. The number of visitors in the tourism rose particularly in the last two years again strongly, which released a substantial building activity within this range.

A new emphasis represents the development of the alternative tourism, including cultural or religious objects of interest as well as the village tourism (rural or traditional Bulgarian ways of life). In addition the beauty of nature is included more for the use of an ecologically compatible tourism than so far. The tourism, which took place in the Black Sea region until now mainly in the summer season, is to take place more strongly all year round. A further starting point for this are the numerous hot sources of mineral water, which can be used for balneological applications.

The privatization process in Varna region is finished to a large extent, apart from a few exceptions. For the moment privatizations still line up within the range of shipbuilding, merchant fleet, in the energy sector and in the water supply.

Varna has five universities and several scientific institutes, so that a large potential of well trained specialists is present in the region.

Regional key players:

• Navigation Maritime Bulgare
• Tourist Companies
• Solvay - Sodi
• Italcimente - Devnja Cement
• Agropolychim
• Varna Shipyard
• Odessos Ship Repair Yard

Navigation Maritime Bulgare: about half of the total income of the region and about 90 % of the revenues in the total transportation sector of the region are provided by Navibulgar. The company is the largest Bulgarian shipping company and the national carrier in this field. The enterprise is nominated for privatization now.

Tourist Companies: Tourism as the most prospering sector of the economy in the region is very interesting for foreign investors. Different large tourist complexes were recently privatized, among them Golden Sands, St.St. Constantine and Elena, Sunny Day and the Riviera Holiday Club. The largest number of tourists comes from Germany, Great Britain, the Scandinavian countries and Russia.

Solvay Sodi: Solvay acquired 1997 the soda ash plant Devnja in a consortia with the Turkish company SiseCam. Solvay Sodi has a stable position on the international market and produces traditionally to low costs. 80 % of the output is exported. The soda ash plant is worldwide the largest single production unit for synthetic soda.

Italcimente - Devnja Cement: The cement plant in Devnja was acquired 1997 by Marvex (Spain) and sold in October 1998 to Cement Francaise/Italcimente. It is a prominent producer and exporter of cement and clinker in Bulgaria.

Agropolychim: In 1999 during the liquidation acquired by & Acid Fertilizers, a Union Miniere/Hardland Investment joint company. Agropolychim is a major Bulgarian fertilizer producer with a capacity of 800,000 t per year. According to the Bulgarian Chamber of Commerce and Industry it is the second largest enterprise in northwest Bulgaria regarding the annual sales revenues. In September 2001 completed the first section of the construction of a liquid chemicals terminal in Varna. The scope of the project: export of approximately 400,000 mt sulfuric acid per year.

Varna Shipyard: bankruptcy proceedings since 1999. This was leading to a loss of 5000 jobs. An unsuccessful attempt of privatization by the British company Cammell Laird was to follow. In January 2002 the shipyard was declared insolvent and on 2. April 2002 it was acquired by Navibulgar. At present the renewed privatization procedure for the shipyard is proceeding.

Odessos Shiprepair Yard: the largest and best equipped Bulgarian shiprepair yard suitable for dry-docking of vessels up to 35000 dwt and afloat repair up to 150,000 dwt.

Investment possibilities for foreign investors in Varna region: Varna region is after Sofia the most attractive Bulgarian investment region in Bulgaria. 418 million US dollar have been invested between 1992 and 2001 in Varna region. The biggest foreign investments are from Belgium, Greece, Germany, Singapore and Turkey.

The structures of the economy and the production in Varna region can encourage investments in the following fields:

1. Use of the distribution possibilities and the stores basis for storage and re-export of raw materials, metals, chemicals, agricultural products, particularly into the GUS and to Asia.
2. Highly effective trade with products of the large and household chemistry. Investments in reconstruction and renovation of the production capacities within this range.
3. Use of the existing production capacities of the agriculture and food processing industry for the ecological production of foodstuffs.
4. Development of a highly effective international tourism with various programs and offers. Participation in the development of the tourist sector and the infrastructure.
5. Reconstruction and modernization of Varna port on the basis of a new master plan.
6. Modernization and common enterprise of the existing telecommunications net.
7. Execution of ecological projects in the region, e.g. within the range of improving the cleanness of sea water, avoidance and utilization of industrial and household wastes, energy saving measures and thermal insulation, in particular with old buildings, renewable energies.
8. Establishment of a "High Tech Incubator" as a center for technology-oriented enterprises (European Union conveyances for it are intended).
9. Establishment of a duty-free zone.
10. Reconstruction and modernization of Varna airport with an investment of approximately 160 million Euros.