(Adds Veltchev comment)
MOSCOW/SOFIA, Oct 27 (Reuters) - VTB Capital, the investment-banking arm of Russia’s second-largest bank VTB , has hired a global advisory firm to help it with an immediate sale of Bulgaria’s largest telecoms operator Vivacom, it said on Tuesday.
Vivacom’s shareholders include fugitive Bulgarian banker Tsvetan Vassilev, who was at the centre of a scandal last year when a bank he majority-owned, Corporate Commercial Bank , was hit by a run on deposits and shut down.
VTB Capital is able to launch the sale process as it is a facility and security agent for a 150 million euro ($165.6 million) bridge financing loan that was given to InterV, a Luxembourg-based indirect holding company of Vivacom, and on which a payment default occurred in May.
The loan was secured by 100 percent of the shares of InterV, so the shares went to VTB Capital after the default.
VTB Capital did not name the advisory firm it had hired to help with the immediate sale.
“We hope to see this process resolved swiftly,” said Milen Veltchev, CEO of VTB Capital AD.
“We are confident in recovering the amount owed. Vivacom remains a robust business with solid financials and healthy balance sheet.”
VTB Capital and Corporate Commercial Bank agreed to take over Vivacom, which is now Bulgaria’s largest telecoms operator in terms of revenue, in 2012.
$1 = 0.9057 euros Reporting by Alexander Winning and Tsvetelia Tsolova; Editing by David Goodman and David Evans