The Bulgarian government recently introduced draft legislation on industrial parks (the “Draft”), which is currently being debated in Parliament. The objective of the proposed legislation is to boost the development of industrial parks and encourage investments in industry by introducing various incentives.
Under the Draft, an industrial park is defined as a separate area located within the territory of one or more municipalities, which meets the appropriate zoning, technical and organizational requirements for the performance of certain industrial activities. Further, to qualify under the Draft an industrial park must be at least 300,000 square meters in size, except where the industrial park specializes in high-tech activities or knowledge-intensive services (in which case the minimum area must be at least 10,000 square meters). Industrial parks must have their own infrastructure, including roads, water supply network and independent electricity and gas distribution networks. In addition, industrial parks may include other properties with auxiliary and supplementary functions (e.g. transport infrastructure, green areas, restaurants, recreation and sports facilities), provided that the area for such facilities does not exceed half of the park’s total area.
Types of industrial parks
The Draft distinguishes between different types of industrial parks based on the ownership status and the business activities carried out. According to the ownership structure, industrial parks can be state-owned, owned by a municipality, private or under joint ownership. Each industrial park is operated by a park operator, which may be a public entity or concessioner under the Concessions Act (in the case of state or municipal industrial parks), or a company appointed by the private owner (in the case of private industrial parks). The entity that carries out industrial activities in the park is referred to as an investor in the Draft, and it runs its business based on a contract with the park operator.
Depending on the type of activities performed, an industrial park can be one of three types:
- Type A – a mixed park in which there is no specialization of activities
- Type B – a park specialized in one type or similar types of production activities
- Type C – a park specialized in high-tech and related activities
According to the Draft, the government and municipalities are authorized to introduce various incentives for investors, such as tax breaks and exemptions or reduced fees for administrative services related to the construction and operation of industrial parks. In addition, investors may enjoy certain fast-track administrative services related to the construction of the parks. Investors may also be eligible for further benefits under the Investments Incentive Act.
The Bulgarian Investment Agency is expected to implement and maintain an electronic register of industrial parks. The register will provide information regarding the name of the industrial park, the type of activities performed, location, owners, investors and park operators, etc. The register will be open to the public and freely accessible.