Austria's Baumax Might Withdraw from Bulgaria, Eastern Europe

Austrian "do-it-yourself" chain Baumax is mulling a pullback from Bulgaria and Eastern Europe, Austria's Die Presse newspaper reported.

Earlier, its founder Karl-Heinz Essl announced he was kicking off a sale of his artwork collection in a move aimed at raising funds to save his company.

Baumax representatives have however suggested that the revenues from the sale could cover the costs for "saving the company's Austrian business", but might not suffice even for closedowns of Eastern European branches.

Essl said in an interview cited by Die Presse that the business expansion in this part of Europe had not been made "in a justifiable way".

In Austia, Baumax has 66 branches and 4000 out of its total 9000 employees.

The company has had its presence in Bulgaria since 2008, expanding its business to TUrkey in 2010.

It has opened 8 branches in the country in 6 years of activity. Baumax ended 2012 at a net loss worth EUR 126 M.

The bad result was mostly due to Romanian (which registered a total EUR 26 M loss) and Turkish (EUR 14 M) branches, but all Eastern European countries, except Slovakia, also worsened the company's fiscal balance.

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