Three more banks have reported more than 10 million BGN of profit:
Bulgarian Development Bank
Only 5 have completed 2016 at minus.
Largest by assets
In 2016, for the first time in 5 years, the top list of BNB for first and second group banks looked different.
Postbank acquired Alpha Bank thus shifting UBB from the 4th position on loans and deposits.
A second rearrangement of the banking market was made with the announced in the final days of 2016 start of the transaction on acquisition of UBB. CiBank (the Bulgarian branch of the Belgian "KBC Group") was taking 99.9% of the ownership of UBB and 100% of the leasing company "Interlease". Actually KBC acquires the fourth largest bank with 8% market share and the third largest provider of leasing services with 13% market share. When the transaction is finalized in the second quarter of 2017, the new merged bank will occupy the third position among banks and will become the first bank insurance group.
The Cyber Security is a hot topic on the business-as-usual agenda for every bank in Bulgaria. The focus shifts towards comprehensive monitoring of all cyber risk controls by specialized teams (SOC – Security Operations Center). The human factor i.e. both employees and especially customers are the weakest factor. There is the idea of (Cyber) Risk Awareness campaigns towards customers (mostly via emails and/or local web site information). A special group is being set up in the ABB (Association of banks in Bulgaria www.abanksb.bg) related to Information Security sharing and common actions. ABB takes care of the group awareness – mass awareness on money laundering and financial mules, on customer advanced malware and hacking. It is good to know tips and possible prevention actions. ABB undertakes the initiative so that every bank receives specialized bulletins by ENISA (European Union Agency for Network & Information Security www.enisa.europa.eu) and OSINT (Open Source Intelligence) bi-monthly.
National Cyber Security Strategy was adopted by the Council of Ministers of the Republic of Bulgaria on 13 July 2016. The strategy expresses the collective commitment and responsibility of all stakeholders and will of the leadership of the Republic of Bulgaria to provide a modern framework and stable environment for development of the national system for cyber security and achieving an open, safe and secure cyber space (http://www.cyberbg.eu/).
Cyber criminals targeting Bulgaria are predominantly from Russia (from sharing modus operandi). There is an extreme growth of spear-phishing, drive-by downloads and browser vulnerability or 0-day exploits. At the same time a very small scale DDoS attacks have been witnessed so far, but they are expected to increase. An increase has been recorded in targeted APT through exploit-kits and social engineering abuse by hacking groups (e.g. Lazarus Group). The following mutation of 'badware' has been noticed – increasing complex infiltration attacks have been trying to implement e.g. ransomware at the end-user.
The Bulgarian banks plan an implementation or enhancement of complex fraud monitoring/AI breach detection systems to boost cyber controls in place.
Around 71% of the bank managers in Bulgaria expect an improvement of the Bulgarian economy in the next 12 months, which is really interesting especially considering the far less optimistic bankers in Europe. A recent survey, which is conducted traditionally by EY (www.ey.com), meaning to trace the confidence of senior bank management in the Bulgarian economy, banks and banking system, shows out that in the future, banks will address and manage risks much better and more uncompromising. 82% of the respondents in the survey indicate the risk management as one of the most important priorities of their bank. 81% indicate that investment in technology to improve customer service is their priority. Cyber security and compliance with the regulations in the capital markets are the other two priority areas for 63% of the bank managers.
Environmental safety represents a major challenge in Bulgaria. In fact, the region is characterized by one of the lowest capacity of adaptation to climate change in comparison with other European regions. Furthermore, the border area has an extremely rich biodiversity and valuable natural and cultural landscapes, but these are subject to different kinds of negative influences (e.g. by the industry, intensive agriculture, climate change, transport and uncontrolled tourist flows). Due to economic pressure and lack of management of natural resources, 102 protected areas, included in Natura 2000, are exposed to serious threats from illegal exploitation, construction and poaching. There are weaknesses in the joint management of natural (floods, erosion) and technogenic risks (air and water pollution) and in the biodiversity protection. More in details these weaknesses can be defined as:
Insufficiently good system for risk prevention and environment protection;
A limited number of joint regulations to improve environmental safety and action plans in case of emergency;
Low levels of human and financial resources;
Poor state of basic infrastructure (water supply, sewerage, water purification, waste management);
Lack of cross-sectoral communication and coordination for the management of natural resources and environment;
Unsatisfactory level of awareness of population and economic actors for the management of special protected areas, plant and animal species and their habitats.
Over the next few years, substantial investments in new systems for collection and treatment of wastewater will be required. The relevant capital cost is estimated at about 7 billion BGN by 2020. The costs of reconstruction or replacement of existing systems for collection and treatment of wastewater are estimated at 200 million BGN per year. Without European funding the sector would face a great challenge in terms of infrastructure financing.
As per Operational Program "Environment 2007-2013" (OPE), a pilot Regional Feasibility Study (RFS) for the agglomeration of Smolyan has been developed, identifying priority actions whose implementation will start in 2017.
Currently there are RFS for separate areas of 14 Water operators done: Burgas, Varna, Vidin, Vratsa, Dobrich, Kardzhali, Pernik, Plovdiv, Russe, Silistra, Sliven, Stara Zagora, Shumen, Yambol. 4 more for 4 other separate areas, incl. Sofia Municipality are to be made shortly.
Before the finalization and approval of the RFS, with funding on the axis in 2017, the implementation of the following groups of projects ready for investment will start, with communities as beneficiaries:
Projects under Art. 39 of the Regulation (EC) № 1083/2006, which have been subject to review by the European Commission in the 2007-2013 programming period (Plovdiv, Asenovgrad, Dobrich and Pleven-Dolna Mitropolia agglomerations). The total value of these projects is 402 million BGN.
Projects for 5 agglomerations with over 10 000 PE. They will be implemented in the municipalities of Elhovo, Turtukan, Primorsko, Aytos and Chirpan and the total investment for their implementation is 116 million BGN.
Meanwhile 8 projects in the municipalities of Bansko, Varna, Vidin, Vratsa, Radnevo, Tervel, Shumen and Yambol are being implemented. The process started under OPE 2007-2013 and its second phase is being implemented in the programming period 2014-2020. The financial resource for them is 234 million BGN.
To partially cover their needs, agglomerations between 2000 and 10 000 PE, which will not be able to benefit from OPE or RDP (Rural Development Program 2014-2020) funds, will have to rely on funding from the state budget, water operators and the EMAEP (Enterprise for management of activities on environmental protection).
Investment priorities adopted by the Governing Council are:
Completion of bringing and main sewers to city wastewater treatment plants /CWWTP/ in agglomerations with more than 10 000 PE in accordance with Art. 127 of the Water Law;
Completion of sewage networks, power main and inlet collectors to CWWTP/Modular WWTP for agglomerations above 2000 PE for the purpose of loading of the capacity of the CWWTP/Modular WWTP in accordance with Art. 127 of the WL;
Completion of small water projects, of terminated contracts - in consequence of a decision of the Board of the EMAEP as well as of plumbing sites with completed phased financing with funds from the state budget and the EMAEP, which have less than 50% to completion in accordance with submitted updated application and updated working draft, according to the WL, Territory Planning Law and PPL.
The estimated expenditure for 2017 amounts to 95 million BGN.
The perspectives for the development of analysis tools are associated with the opportunities that the cross-border program between Romania and Bulgaria will provide for the period 2014-2020. The priority axis "Environment" is divided into two - "For a green area" and "For a safe area", and the funding for the two new axes reaches 94 mln EUR, which is 11 mln EUR more than the previous period. The new program puts an emphasis on:
preservation and restoration of the biodiversity, soil, natural and cultural heritage;
promoting of eco services (incl. by "Natura 2000") and green infrastructures;
promoting of investment to address specific risks;
ensuring disaster resilience;
development of management systems in emergency situations.
These areas of intervention are in line with the strategic EU document "Europe 2020" and the Seventh Program of Action for Environmental Protection 2020, which only confirms the role and importance of CBC for environmental security.
Software for water measurements
Consultancy services (e.g. ICT)
Flood prevention systems
Engineering and construction expertise for WWTP
1 Strategy for the development and management of water and sanitation in the Republic of Bulgaria adopted by the Council of Ministers in August 2013. Annex 3 - Scenario, expenditure and financing, assumptions and results
2 Operational Program "Environment 2014-2020", amended by the implementation decision of the European Commission on 26 October 2016
3 Programme for Rural Development 2014-2020 / RDP / http://www.dfz.bg/bg/prsr-2014-2020/
4 BulAqua magazine, number 4/16
5 web site investor.bg
6 Bulgarian Water Association www.bwa-bg.com
7International Specialised Exhibition WATER SOFIA 2017 www.bulcontrola.com/en
Safety in Bulgaria
Snap shot of the sector by January 2017
Companies licensed to provide private security services
With a national license
With regional licenses
Licensed to perform personal security services to individuals
Licensed to guard individuals’ or legal entities' properties
Licensed for security of events
Licensed for security of valuables and cargo
Units for self-protection
More than 200 000
Total of licensed security companies
Ever since the big change of the political regime in 1989, the Security & Safety market in Bulgaria has seriously expanded. For the period from 1990 to 2004, the development of the private security sector in Bulgaria was marked by corruption and organized crime, as well as the limited ability and willingness of the government to regulate and control these activities. Since 2004 there has been a considerable progress in this regard, notably as far as it refers to the introduction of a specific law that imposes control over Private Security Companies (PSC). The opinion that PSC are bound to organized crime or involved in racketeering no longer dominates. Nevertheless, the sector still suffers from problems that often result from the overall difficulty of the country in the field of security and economy. A number of problems such as corruption, poor control and enforcement of rules, as well as the huge gray sector still remain. This sector represents one of the largest employers in the country, but in parallel, creates one of the largest gray sectors of the national economy. According to a well-informed owner of one of the largest PSC in the country, about 25 percent of the turnover in the sector is generated by technical security systems (which include CCTV, intruder alarms, fire, etc.), 30 percent - by security of valuables and cargo, and the rest - by personal security. The services related to technical security systems are offered mostly by the larger companies that can afford to invest in day and night control centers, mobile teams and vehicles. As per the above data, only 6.5 percent of PSC specialize in providing technical security systems.
According to a survey made in 2013 by the World Bank, about 75 % of the private companies in Bulgaria pay for their security. National research on the crime in the business sector, led in 2010 by the Center of Democracy Study, shows out that the number of Bulgarian companies, which use PSC services has risen since 2005, which includes security hiring as well as more widespread use of alarm systems. The number of companies that employ in-house security, has also increased by 10 %. In 2010 nearly 60 % of Bulgarian companies have used technical security systems provided by PSC. About ten % of individuals seek private security services (primarily technical security systems). Industry sources confirm that the market has grown in the recent years despite the economic downturn.
According to security experts, PSC main customers are mainly public institutions. According to representatives of the professional syndicate, prices offered through public procurement procedures in the sector are quite low, which automatically affects the salaries of employees. Usually the company offering the lowest price wins the auction, but this is at the expense of safety and security of course.
There are a lot of opportunities in the sector so any kind of company could find their place. There is one specific niche though, which could be interesting for the Belgian business to explore, and it concerns the smart house solutions.
3 Survey of businesses conducted by the World Bank in 2013, http://www.enterprisesur-veys.org/data/exploreeconomies/2013/bulgaria#crime
4 Gounev, P. (2006). “Bulgaria’s Private Security Industry”. In: Bryden, A. and M. Caparini (eds.).
Private Actors and Security Governance. Geneva: LIT & DCAF. Bulgarian Industrial Association - BIA (2012). Sectoral analysis of workforce competence in "Security and investigation activities" sector. Sofia: BIA. MoI data for licensed companies.
5 Press-interview with Anna Zaimova, president of the National Syndicate of professional security officers and guards. Novatarealnost.bg. "Public procurement destroyed salaries in the security industry." 15 October 2012, http://www.novatarealnost.bg/?p=544
6 Insurer magazine. " Private security guards with unworthy income, too." 4 January 2013
7 OffNews.bg. "New fashion: State companies create "force majeure" in order to distribute millions in the dark." 28 January 2015, http://goo.gl/JlU6BL
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Wallonia Export-Investment Agency
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