ICGB AD

Co-financed by the Europen Union, Europen Energy Programme for Recovery European Regional Development Fund Operational Program Innovation and Competitiveness

A RELEASE by ICGB AD

on statements regarding the project company performance within a meeting of the Temporary Audit Committee for establishing misuse and violations in the spending of funds by the Council of Ministers, ministries, state bodies, state and municipal enterprises, companies with more than 50 percent state and municipal ownership and local authorities in the last 5 years

Referring to false and misleading allegations regarding the project for construction of a Natural Gas Interconnector Greece-Bulgaria, within the framework of a meeting of the Temporary Audit Committee for establishing misuse and violations in the spending of funds by the Council of Ministers, ministries, state bodies, state and municipal enterprises, companies with more than 50 percent state and municipal participation and local authorities in the last 5 years, the project company ICGB AD states the following:

The Project Company managing the development of the Gas Interconnector Greece-Bulgaria doesn’t fall within the scope of the Temporary Committee audit as the Bulgarian state share in it doesn’t exceed 50%, as stipulated by the Committee rules. The joint investment company ICGB AD, registered in Bulgaria in 2011 with shareholders holding equal shares, respectively BEH EAD (50%) and IGI Poseidon (50%). The co-shareholder of IGI Poseidon is a company, registered in Greece with shareholders – the Greek Public Gas Corporation DEPA S.A. (50%) and the Italian Energy Group Edison SpA (50%).

The total amount of the investment is € 240mil and this sum hasn’t changed since the beginning. The financing is provided as follows: by the shareholders; € 45mil from the European Energy Program for Recovery (EEPR); € 39mil from the European Structural and Investment Funds and a loan from European Investment Bank (EIB) of € 110mil The share of public funding is 35% of the total amount.

The company ICGB AD is managed by a Board of Directors of 8 members. The composition of the Board is nominated on an equal footing by the two joint stock companies. Decisions at the level of shareholders are taken by the General Assembly only unanimously, as well as all decisions with a material value of over BGN 70,000. The two Executive Officers – Mrs. Teodora Georgieva on the Bulgarian side and Mr. Konstantinos Karayannakos on the Greek side – represent the company only together with a mandate voted by the Board of directors. Given the above company management structure none of the key decisions on the IGB governance could be taken with one hear, and decisions concerning changes of terms could be taken only unanimously by the General Assembly.  

After receiving an invitation to hear the management of the project company, the Chairman of the Board of Directors and the Executive Officers informed the Chairman of the Temporary Parliamentary Committee that the company does not fall within the scope of the Committee, voted by the National Assembly of Bulgaria. The Board members are duly informed about the decision and the information was forwarded to the Ministry of Energy as well.

The company and its shareholders fully support the Bulgarian Institutions and control bodies in the inspections and provision of requested information on Project execution. However even though the project company is not a part and subject of the Committee meeting, it had already sent detailed information in a letter with ref. No IX-1/03.09.2021 to the Temporary Committee in response to specific queries on the financing and the term of IGB construction.

Given the provided detailed information, the false and misleading allegations publicly made during the Committee meeting are quite strange and confusing. The project company firmly rejects the allegations that the company has suffered financial damage from unsolicited penalties. The penalty has a limit value regulated in the Contract with the construction company, and it is not more than 10% of the contract value or a maximum of 14.5 million euros. In case of a taken decision to extend the Contract for reasons beyond the control of the parties - a global pandemic of COVID-19 - it is not possible to activate a penalty clause. As it is known, the penalty is a sanction, which is imposed in case of guilty non-fulfillment of liabilities. The decision to extend the term due to objective reasons was taken by the Board of Directors and the General Assembly of the company.

The remuneration of the Executive Officers and the board members is public, as are the remunerations of all members of management and control bodies of the companies within the system of the Bulgarian Energy Holding. Estimations about personal remuneration of BGN 1mil are absurd and aiming only to attract media attention.

The ICGB Management makes all necessary efforts to exercise transparent and effective project governance, and its performance was assessed and appreciated by a number of regional, national and international inspections by institutions, independent experts and companies. Since the beginning of this year alone, the IGB project has been subjected to more than 8 different inspections, and there are no findings of violations. The gas Interconnector with Greece is partly financed by European structures and funds, as well as a loan from the European Investment Bank, which requires additional control mechanisms and implies a transparent management model. This is a guarantee that all activities and procedures for the project execution are strictly compliant to all lawful requirements and regulations. Additional inspections and audits by independent international institutions are a key condition on which the absorption of funds depends. The legality of all actions of the project company and the main contractors is directly related to the project progress. Without positive results of the constant monitoring, IGB would not have been possible at all.

The ICGB AD management performance in the development of the Gas Interconnector Greece-Bulgaria is in compliance with the Bulgarian and European legislature and meets the highest business standards. The Project company firmly objects to all speculations about infringements and relies on the Bulgarian institutions to continue their committed support for the successful realization of this crucial for the country and the region Project. The company remains ready to provide further adequate information to the Ministry of Energy, BEH and the Temporary Committee.


For more information:
Diana Zaykova
Action Global Communications Bulgaria
diana.z@actionprgroup.com
Tel.: +359 2 9803018
+359 885 074 422
+359 885 614 131

Date 14/09/2021