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Britain Tops Foreign Investors Chart In Bulgarian Economy

Britain remained the biggest investor in Bulgarian economy for a second year in a row, Dnevnik daily reported on March 10, quoting figures from Bulgarian National Bank (BNB). British foreign direct investment (FDI) in Bulgaria rose 23 per cent year-on-year to reach 901.5 million euro in 2007, accounting for 16 per cent of all FDI inflows.

The UK stayed top of the table on the back of the significant investment that Brits are making on the Bulgarian property market, Dnevnik claimed. But looking forward, British investors do not seem poised for a hat-trick in 2008. Local realtors are saying demand for resort properties among British home buyers is reaching a standstill.

The biggest share of FDI last year, 37 per cent, was absorbed by real estate, property rentals and business services. In nominal terms, the FDI in this sector jumped 41 per cent year-on-year to 2.158 million euro in 2007.

Belgium and Luxembourg, grouped by BNB as one entity, was second in the top 10 investors chart, posting a whopping 446 per cent increase in FDI, to 716 million euro last year. The surge was mainly due to the 295-million-euro acquisition of Bulgaria's EIBank by Belgian KBC, which it followed up with the 185-million-euro buy of local insurer DZI.

Further down the list are the Netherlands with 542 million euro, Austria with 475.1 million, Greece with 408 million, Spain with 314 million and Cyprus with 198 million euro, BNB data showed. Bulgaria's financial intermediation industry attracted 1.741 billion euro in FDI last year, up a hefty 137 per cent year-on-year increase.

Total FDI for 2007 rose 30.3 per cent reaching a record high of 5.687 billion euro, as reported previously.