Thursday 31 January 2013

Bulgaria could get up to 2.5B euro FDI in 2013 – official

Foreign direct investment (FDI) in the Bulgarian economy in 2013 was expected to reach between two billion euro and 2.5 billion euro, the head of InvestBulgaria Agency, Borislav Stefanov, told Bulgarian National Radio on January 2.

“I’m reluctant to give a definite number, simply because foreign direct investment depends not only on the country where the investment is carried out, but also the country of origin,” Stefanov was quoted as saying.

After years of ever-increasing inflows of investment funds during the economic boom, FDI bottomed out in 2010 at about one billion euro. Since then, the figures have risen steadily, to 1.7 billion euro in 2011 and the final amount for 2012 is expected to be about at two billion euro.
“I think it is very possible that total investment in 2013 will be in the range between two billion and 2.5 billion euro,” Stefanov said.

Although some sections of the updated Investment Promotion Act were vetoed in December by President Rossen Plevneliev, other incentives that the agency lobbied for – such as the partial reimbursements to investors for social security payments for new employees – were not affected by the veto and are slated to go into force later this year.

“The opportunity to get back, for two years, some of the expenditures on social security payments is an important one and many companies that we worked with in the past several months said that such an incentive could be a decisive factor to pick Bulgaria ahead of other countries that are competing against it,” Stefanov said.

Wednesday 30 January 2013

Bulgaria is located at the center of a dynamic transit zone of interests – on the crossroad between the East and the West, Europe and Asia, the developed and developing economies, the existing and projected energy flows intended for the needs of Europe.

The network of almost all European Transport Corridors passes through the country, making it the only possible land border of the traffic between Europe and Asia Minor. The close location of the Danube River, the Black Sea, the Aegean Sea and the Adriatic sea also contribute to the good logistics resources of the country and the broad and immediate market access to: Turkey, Asia Minor, the Black Sea countries (Russia, Ukraine, and Georgia), EU and EFTA member states.

Within a distance of 500 km from the capital city of Sofia, there is population of more than 60 million people in 10 countries, most of which have entered the market economy relatively recently. Thus, the location of the country proves to be crucial for a huge and still unexplored market, whose demands are among the most rapidly increasing ones all over Europe.

All these advantages of Bulgaria’s location, combined with the qualified labour force, low operational costs, political and economic stability, have placed the country in 2009 among the thirteen most attractive outsourcing destinations in the world according to the research made by AT Kearney. Despite the sharp fall down from the top 15 in 2008 in the chart of AT Kearney to the places following the 32nd position of the other countries in Central and Eastern Europe in 2009, apparently this fall down has not affected the good rating of Bulgaria among the business operators.

The above mentioned advantages, which smart entrepreneurs could utilize by opening subsidiaries in Bulgaria, are still more tangible during crisis periods.

Sunday 27 January 2013

Επιχειρηματικό ενδιαφέρον για τη Βουλγαρία

Αμείωτο παραμένει το ενδιαφέρον των Ελλήνων επιχειρηματιών για τη Βουλγαρία κι ιδίως για τα πλεονεκτήματα που προσφέρει η οικονομία της γειτονικής χώρας, σε ό,τι αφορά στο χαμηλό κόστος του εργατικού δυναμικού ή των ενεργειακών πόρων, αλλά και τη χαμηλή φορολογία κ.λπ. Την άποψη αυτή εξέφρασε ο εκτελεστικός διευθυντής στο Ελληνικό Επιχειρηματικό Συμβούλιο Βουλγαρίας, Μίνκο Γερτζίκοφ, προσθέτοντας, παράλληλα, πως κατά την περυσινή χρονιά επισκέφθηκαν τη Βουλγαρία, για επαγγελματικούς ή τουριστικούς λόγους, περισσότεροι από ένα εκατομμύριο Έλληνες.

Οι αναφορές του κ. Γερτζίκοφ διατυπώθηκαν στο πλαίσιο του business breakfast που οργανώθηκε, χθες, στη Σόφια, με τη συμμετοχή εκπροσώπων των μεγαλύτερων από τις ελληνικές επιχειρήσεις και τράπεζες που δραστηριοποιούνται τοπικά και βασικό ομιλητή τον υπουργό Οικονομίας, Ενέργειας και Τουρισμού Ντέλιαν Ντόμπρεφ. Ο Βούλγαρος κυβερνητικός αξιωματούχος έκανε ιδιαίτερη αναφορά στο project που αφορά στη σύνδεση της Ελλάδας με τη Βουλγαρία με αγωγό φυσικού αερίου, μεταξύ Κομοτηνής και Στάρα Ζαγόρα, τονίζοντας πως «είναι το σημαντικότερο για τη χώρα μας, σε σύγκριση με τα αντίστοιχα σχέδια σύνδεσης με άλλα γειτονικά κράτη».

Όπως εξήγησε αυτό συμβαίνει διότι «με την ολοκλήρωση του διαμετακομιστή με την Ελλάδα, θα αποκτήσουμε για πρώτη φορά πρόσβαση σε αέριο, που δεν προέρχεται από τη Ρωσία», για να συμπληρώσει πως η βουλγαρική κυβέρνηση καταβάλλει κάθε προσπάθεια ώστα να ξεκινήσουν οι εργασίες για τον αγωγό έως το τέλος Μαρτίου.

Περαιτέρω ο κ. Ντόμπρεφ παρουσίασε τα μέτρα της βουλγαρικής κυβέρνησης για τη στήριξη των επιχειρήσεων, τη διευκόλυνση και την προσέλκυση νέων επενδύσεων, καθώς και τις προσδοκίες της Σόφιας από τα ευρωπαϊκά προγράμματα για τη χρονική περίοδο 2014-2020.

«Ο νέος νόμος για τις ξένες επενδύσεις στη Βουλγαρία, ο οποίος προβλέπει πως το Δημόσιο θα επιστρέφει στους επενδυτές Α' και Β' τάξης τις πληρωμές που τους αντιστοιχούν για την κοινωνική ασφάλιση, εντός περιόδου δύο ετών μετά την επένδυση, αναμένεται να μειώσει τα έξοδα των εργοδοτών για ανθρώπινους πόρους κατά 17%», είπε χαρακτηριστικά.
Επίσης, για την αύξηση του ΑΕΠ εξέφρασε την εκτίμηση ότι θα προσεγγίσει το 2% φέτος, ενώ το έλλειμμα του προϋπολογισμού θα είναι 1%, η αγοραστική δύναμη στη χώρα θα σημειώσει ελαφρά άνοδο και η ανεργία θα παραμείνει στάσιμη στο επίπεδο του 12,5%.

Η Σόφια ελπίζει, ακόμη, να εξασφαλίσει μεγαλύτερη ευρωπαϊκή χρηματοδότηση την επόμενη επταετία, ώστε να στηρίξει τις εξαγωγές με σχέδια εφαρμογής καινοτομιών και προηγμένων τεχνολογιών.

Ιδιαίτερη μέριμνα θα υπάρξει στην επεξεργασία του μετάλλου και σε τομείς της βουλγαρικής βιομηχανίας, όπου παράγονται προϊόντα με υψηλή προστιθέμενη αξία, καθώς τώρα, τις πρώτες πέντες θέσεις στις εξαγωγές της χώρας καταλαμβάνουν οι πρώτες ύλες.


Tuesday 22 January 2013

Value added tax (VAT)

The Bulgarian VAT legislation is based on the EU VAT rules and Directive 2006/112/EC.

VAT rates

 20% for domestic supplies, intra-community acquisitions and importation from non-EU countries
 9% for hotel accommodation services


 With the right to deduct input VAT – intra-community supplies, exportation to non-EU countries, international transport of goods and passengers, certain supplies related to international transport, sale of duty free goods under certain conditions, certain transactions related to international trade, specific supplies under international treaties, etc.

 No right to deduct input VAT – transfer or rental of land or rights in rem over land (except for building land and land adjacent to new buildings), the transfer of old buildings or parts thereof, rental for residential purposes to individuals (an option to tax these transactions is available); financial and insurance services; gambling; certain services related to health, education, religion, culture, etc.; other specific supplies (e.g., importation of certain goods and up to a limit).

VAT registration

Entities are obliged to register for Bulgarian VAT purposes if they have performed:
 Transactions with a place of supply in Bulgaria for which the VAT should be charged by the supplier exceeding BGN 50 thousand (approximately EUR 25.6 thousand) for the last 12 months
 Intra-community acquisitions exceeding BGN 20 thousand (approximately EUR 10.2 thousand) during the calendar year
 Distance sales in Bulgaria exceeding BGN 70 thousand (approximately EUR 35.8 thousand) during the calendar year

Entities established in an EU Member State performing supply of goods with installation in Bulgaria to customers non-registered for VAT purposes are obliged to register irrespective of their taxable turnover.
Foreign entities which receive services with a place of supply in Bulgaria for which the recipient has to self-charge Bulgarian VAT are obliged to register irrespective of their taxable turnover.

Any entity may apply for voluntary VAT registration. However, if voluntarily registered, such entity will not be able to registered for two years following the year of registration.

Fiscal representative
In order to register for VAT purposes foreign entities have to appoint a local fiscal representative, except when they have a registered branch in Bulgaria. The requirement does not apply to EU based entities.

Reverse charge mechanism
Foreign entities not established and not VAT-registered in Bulgaria performing certain supplies to local businesses will not have to register for VAT purposes. The VAT will be self-charged by the local customer.
Supplies to which reverse charge of VAT applies include:
 Services provided to businesses (with some exceptions)
 Supply of goods with installation
 Supply of natural gas and electricity
 Supply of goods under a triangular transaction (i.e., a supply of goods between three entities VAT-registered in three different EU Member States. Under certain conditions the ultimate customer self-charges VAT, while the supplies for the first two entities are exempt with right to deduction of the input VAT)
Please note that certain specific conditions may also apply.

VAT returns and payment
Monthly VAT returns are filed and the tax is due by the 14th of the following month. The tax period is a calendar month.
European sales list (VIES) returns have to be filed monthly by the same deadline if intra-community supplies of goods or certain services have been performed during the respective month.

VAT refund

VAT can be refunded through the VAT returns within:

 2 months (period for carry forward and offsetting of the claimable VAT against VAT payable) and 30 days of filing the last VAT return (period for effective refund)

 30 days of filing the VAT return for entities which have performed exempt supplies with the right to deduction exceeding 30% of the total turnover from taxable supplies for the last 12 months
An investor in a large investment project which has received authorization by the Ministry of Finance can receive a refund within 30 days. The investor can also apply reverse charge for VAT on importation of goods (without effective cash outflow).

EU based foreign entities which are not registered and established for VAT purposes in Bulgaria can receive a refund of the local input VAT incurred for goods and services used for supplies with a place of supply outside Bulgaria. A specific procedure before the authorities of the EU Member State of establishment has to be followed.

Non-EU based entities may be entitled to a refund on a reciprocal basis (i.e., if their country of tax residence provides the right to refund of VAT to Bulgarian entities). A specific procedure before the Bulgarian revenue authorities has to be followed.

Wednesday 9 January 2013

Offices in Bulgaria


Bulgaria has seen a surge in top-quality office real estate 


Business Park Sofia is the largest office park in Southeastern Europe with a total built up area of 300 000 sq.m. It is a genuine multifunctional high-tech business park, located within 15 minutes’ drive from the city center and Sofia Airport.

European Trade Center in Sofia, Bulgaria, opened in 2010 and has an offi ce area of 72 300 sq.m. It is located at a 10 minutes’ drive from Sofi a city center and just a few minutes drive from Sofia Airport.

Business Park Varna is a multifunctional office buildings complex located on an area of 67 430 sq.m. It has a unique design and excellent infrastructure. Its location is within 5 minutes’ drive from Varna Airport and 10 minutes’ drive to Varna city center.

Sopharma Business Towers is one of the newest office and retail buildings in Sofia with an area of 11 000 sq.m. It has remarkable architecture and offers high-tech office space using the energy of the sun, wind, the natural temperature of the soil and ground-water.

Office rents in Sofia are the lowest in the region...

  • The modern office stock in Sofia is 1 405 700 sq.m of which 45% is Class A
  • The office space under construction stands at 306 000 square meters 
  • Vacancy in Sofia is 30%

Average monthly prime office rent in Sofia and other selected European cities, € per sq.m.

Sofia - 12
Bucharest - 15
Zagreb - 16
Bratislava - 17
Belgrade - 18
Budapest - 18
Lisbon - 18
Istanbul - 20
Athens - 21
Prague - 21
Berlin -21
Warsaw - 26