A fresh batch of information on the sale of Bulgaria's Doverie to UK-registered United Capital has instilled another doze of uncertainty about the future of this country's biggest pension insurance company. According to a press release disseminated on behalf of the buyer, United Capital has signed a definitive agreement with Vienna Insurance Group (VIG) to acquire 92.58% of Doverie. The deal has not received regulatory approval yet. The buyer pledges to present its long-term strategy for development of Doverie to the Bulgarian regulatory authorities soon. The release also names the managing partner in Russia's Investbank and one of the two biggest shareholders in United Capital so far, Sergey Mastiugin, as 'a majority shareholder'.
According to the press release Mastiugin has recently acquired Lighthouse Capital, which is described as an experienced and successful asset manager for pension funds and the insurance industry. A web search, however, does not return information about such a deal. The only such entity is registered in the Cayman Islands and defines itself as a 'boutique' company. Lighthouse Capital will become a shareholder in United Capital prior to the closing of the transaction with VIG, the release reads without giving any information about the ownership and plans of the offshore firm.
Another new name emerging from the press release is Magomed Alikhanov, 'an internationally known professional with a superb track record in insurance and pension asset management.' He will spearhead United Capital investment in Doverie and will oversee the integration of Lighthouse's professionals with Doverie's present management, reads the release.
At the same time there is no information whatever about the other key shareholder in United Capital, UK-registered LJ Capital. According to the release, United Capital is currently negotiating with several European and US investors 'with a view of broadening its shareholder base' and the new shareholders will be announced before the company files for authorization with the Bulgarian regulators.
The plans of Doverie's would-be owner, however, remain obscure. All the press release says is that 'United Capital is fully aware of its responsibility towards the Bulgarian people and Doverie's clients, and is committed to the prudent and effective management of Doverie in accordance with principles of social responsibility and in compliance with the laws of Bulgaria and the European Union.' According to the release Daniela Petkova will remain CEO of Doverie. The future owner pledges to partner with the existing team but it also plans to add 'new blood' to increase efficiency. Petkova, who already filed her resignation as a sign of disagreement with the murky sale, declined to comment.
According to the press release, over the last years Mastiugin has significantly broadened 'his business frontiers by investing in several companies in Slovakia, Austria and Bulgaria.' As a recent investment the release points out the development of a logistics terminal in Svilengrad (Bulgaria). Commercial Register filings show that Logistic Terminal Svilengrad was set up on April 16, 2013 and its sole shareholder is Austria's Wertbau GmbH, a joint venture of Bau-und Liegenschaftsverwaltung and Nord Investment (50% each). Shareholders in the first are Guenter Rohr, Heinz Russwurm, Bulgaria's Regent Capital and Mastiugin. A few weeks ago Rorh and Russwurm were presented as directors and small shareholders in United Capital. Regent Capital is also a shareholder in the company, according to UK regulatory filings. The second shareholder in Wertbau, Nord Investment, is co-owned by Rohr and Regent Capital's CEO Rumen Nanov.
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BULGARIA: Russian banker named buyer of Doverie