Armenian Oligarch Buys Bulgarian Bottling Company

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YEREVAN–One of Armenia’s richest and most powerful oligarch’s Gagik Tsarukian (Dodi Gago) has acquired Gorna Banya, a Bulgarian water bottling company, for 25 million euro. The deal was sealed last week, local reports say.

Roughly 20 million euro of the Gorna Banya sale price will be used to cover the company’s debts, one of the former owners Evgeni Goranov told the Bulgarian Dnevnik daily.

The company owes 12 million euro in long-term banking loans and another EUR 4 M in short-term funding. The company is also required pay a separate 3.5 million euro to a UK investment fund.

Tsarukian, arguably Armenia’s wealthiest man, owns more than 40 medium and large companies, making up a business empire, which has seen an incredible expansion in recent years.

A former arm-wrestler, Tsarukian started out as a minority shareholder in one of Armenia’s two largest breweries in the late 1990s.

Tsarukian is a member of the Armenian parliament and the founder of his own political party, “Prosperous Armenia”. He is also Chairman of Armenia’s National Olympic Committee.

The news of Gorna Banya’s sale comes a month after one of its nearest rivals, Devin, majority owned by Austria’s Soravia Group, signed an agreement for the sale of a 75% stake to the global private equity fund Advent International.

The deal price is said to be around 21 to 22 million euro. Its final value will be fixed between the signing of the contract and its conclusion.

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