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Georgi Gergov Acquires 80% Stake in International Plovdiv Fair

Businessman Georgi Gergov acquired controlling interest in the International Plovdiv Fair of 79.39%, after a 29% stake in the company, held so far by Varna Municipality and worth BGN 16.3 million, was contributed as a non-cash asset to the capital of Paldin Tourinvest, a company controlled by Gergov which so far owned 50.36% of the shares in the exhibition venue.
Gergov formerly chaired the local chapter of the Bulgarian Socialist Party but is now part of the opposition to party leader Korneliya Ninova.
The transfer was effected at an extraordinary Shareholders General Meeting on Thursday afternoon. It was attended only by a lawyer representing Gergov and a representative of Plovdiv Municipality. The latter voted against the contribution of the Varna shares in line with a resolution passed earlier in the day by the Municipal Council, which opposed the capital increase.
By the same resolution, the Council obliged its representative to make an express statement at the General Meeting that, when a capital increase is put to the vote, Plovdiv Municipality will exercise its blocking minority to which it is entitled under the Municipal Property Act as a public shareholder. 
The Municipal Council further ordered Plovdiv Mayor Zdravko Dimitrov to appeal the contribution of the Varna shares if that transfer is effected.
A Democratic Bulgaria councillor moved that the local authority take steps for the designation of Plovdiv Fair as a cultural landmark so as to block its building overdevelopment.
Democratic Bulgarian Municipal Councillor Vesselina Alexandrova said later in the day that Gergov’s representative at the Shareholders General Meeting ignored the local government’s vote against and held that the motion for a capital increase and admission of a new shareholder had been validly carried.
On November 17, the Supreme Administrative Court conclusively voided a Varna Administrative Court judgment that was the only obstacle to the share transfer.
In December 2021, the Plovdiv Regional Governor put the deal on hold. He was acting on instructions of then economy and industry minister Ninova, who argued that the transfer would have been tantamount to clandestine privatization.à
Further back, in 2017, the Plovdiv Municipal Council resolved on returning the shares in the Fair to the State, but that resolution was never implemented.
Established in 1892, the Plovdiv Fair is Bulgaria’s largest.