Despite beginning the conversation by asserting that “there are not many new things to report in Bulgaria in terms of legislative amendments or legal market changes," in fact Borislav Boyanov, the Managing Partner of Boyanov & Co., is fairly optimistic, pointing out that the Bulgarian economy is “relatively ok, reporting 3.4% growth in 2016, which for Europe is very good.”
Boyanov concedes that FDI went down last year, but he reports a trend of local buyers buying the Bulgarian assets of international companies, which he describes as “both good and bad: it’s good because local companies are becoming stronger, but it’s bad because countries need foreign investors, and as I said, FDI was down.” Boyanov notes that, “Bulgaria has certain issues, for example with the necessary judicial reform — but in general this trend is not only because of Bulgaria; this is a global trend, and investors are cautious about foreign investments in Europe right now.”
Despite the mixed report, Boyanov says that his firm had “a very good year in 2016 — maybe the best ever.” He explains that the number of transactions increased in the country last year — though not their size — and the IT and BPO sectors are famously strong in the country, as “there are some extremely good companies, and the sectors attract a lot of attention.” The Real Estate sector seems to be showing movement as well, he reports, though he concedes that, “other than that, not much."
Many of the problems the market is facing are not local, Boyanov insists; they’re global or regional. Indeed, he reports that there’s anxiety in his country because “of what’s happening around Europe and around Bulgaria,” and he points to a dramatic 2016 in neighboring Greece, Turkey, and Ukraine.
Finally, Boyanov notes, the country’s previous government resigned at the end of last year. A new President will step in next week and will call new elections, “so we will lose at least four to five months.” He sighs that “the political uncertainty doesn’t contribute to economic growth,” but he also ends on a positive note: "if we can get a good, stable government, I’m optimistic, because Bulgarian companies are starting to move in the right direction, even internationally, primarily in FinTech."