Bulgaria seeks Chinese investors for resort development

Chinese investors are poised to spend about $294 million to develop seaside resort properties and build a cargo airport near Sofia, Bulgaria.

Ilian Scarlatov, a managing partner at Mane Capital AD in Sofia (which is advising the deals), told Bloomberg that investments would cover the financing to build hotels, villas, a marina port and a casino in the Thracian Cliffs golf resort on the Black Sea. Scarlatov declined to identify the Chinese investors until transactions are complete, but estimated that the transactions would be finalized within three months and that construction would begin in the summer. 

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This deals could be a windfall for Bulgaria, which is the European Union’s poorest member and is looking to boost its tourism scene as its overall economy grows. Last week, Prime Minister Boyko Borissov predicted that the country's economy will expand more than 3 percent this year, after growing 2.9 percent from a year earlier in the third quarter.

Leisure businesses in Bulgaria, where tourism accounts for 11 percent of economic output, are looking to Asian markets to attract affluent tourists. One Chinese group plans to set up a special-purpose company to raise the capital of Thracian Cliffs Golf and Spa Resort AD by 204 million euros, Scarlatov said. That will enable it to build a seven-star Chedi Hotel and Villas, a 100-berth marina port with an adjacent village and a casino hotel in the next four years, he said.

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