In May, Bulgaria notified the EC of the plan which provides a Lev 550m ($US 392.9m) capital increase to BDZ over six tranches between 2011 and 2016. The cash is intended to restructure the company by repaying some of its debts, which added to cost-reduction measures, disposal of some rolling stock assets, and reducing the workforce, is expected to return the company to viability next year.
However, there are concerns that the plan does not contain sufficient measures to ensure BDZ will contribute to the costs of its own restructuring and to offset distortions of competition. The EC says it has doubts whether the company would remain viable if the revenue projections do not meet the level expected by BDZ. It also says that there is no evidence that the privatisation of BDZ's freight subsidiary will be sufficient to compensate for the lack of competition, or that it is an adequate contribution by the company to restructuring since the timetables for implementation are uncertain.
The EC added that the write-off by the state of debts accumulated by BDZ prior to Bulgaria's accession to the EU in 2007, might be compatible with EU state aid rules, but to date Bulgaria has not provided the necessary clarifications for a proper assessment. Public financing of Lev 249m, approved by the EC at the end of 2010 due to concerns over the impact its disappearance would have, and to allow the Bulgarian government to develop a restructuring plan, has also not been paid.