EC Project of The Association Of Economic Development Of The Commercial, Business And Industrial Enterprises in Bulgaria
Home Home
The Montana Municipality is located in the north-western part of Bulgaria along the Ogosta River, strategically nestled between the Stara Planina Mountain Range and the Danube River plains on a surface area of 676.11 km2. The region enjoys a pleasant climate, easy transportation access, and is suitable for development as an economic, transport, tourist and cultural center. Montana Municipality is the administrative center of the district. Montana has a population of more than 60,000 residents with an average age of 34.7 years.
Machine building, tailoring, agriculture, food production and ceramics industries are well developed in the region. The region is ecologically sound with fertile land and has one of the largest reservoirs in Europe, providing for excellent opportunities for industrial, agricultural and recreational development.
Like anywhere in the world, a strategic location is useless without a fast and effective transportation system. Montana is equipped with excellent travel and transportation capabilities. The shortest way from Western Europe to the Southern part of Bulgaria, Greece, Turkey, and the Middle East passes through the territory of Montana, which is situated on the European transport corridor No.7 and on the main highway E-79. The well-established road and railway systems provide easy access to the International Airport in Sofia as well as the Port of Lom, the second largest Bulgarian port on the Danube River. Montana's proximity to major European highways, river ports, an international airport and extensive railways provides an excellent opportunity to manufacturers and distributors wanting to locate in South-eastern Europe.
When it comes to local economic development, our local government is strongly determined to facilitate and encourage any constructive business initiative. The Municipality of Montana isn't just pro-business; it's pro-your business. Your success is our success. To help you succeed, local government offers site selection assistance, small-business consulting and a professional staff to help keep your business going and growing.

Since 1990, Bulgaria has embarked on a remarkable journey towards economic restructuring that has created suitable business opportunities for direct foreign investment. Bulgaria now boasts a well-developed banking and insurance system as well as business agencies and organizations to facilitate enterprise. A combination of political and economic stability, low-cost/highly-qualified workforce, a strategic location and business friendly local government establishes Montana as an ideal location for business in Eastern Europe.
Structure of the Workforce - 2003.
Due to the social and economic structural reforms occurring in Montana, many people are unemployed (17.2% as of 2003). There is a tendency to decrease, thus creating an opportunities for highly skilled unemployed people. The machine building industry has been particularly affected by these changes as more than 1500 people are unemployed and available from this industry. On the other hand, the number of people employed in the apparel, retail and services industries, as well as communications and equipment manufacturing has increased in recent years.
Workforce Training
Workforce training programs, provided by the Montana Labor Bureau, vocational schools, and NGOs, also contribute to maintaining a highly skilled workforce. The Labor Bureau conducts regular research of the requirements of the workforce market to guarantee that companies are supplied with a properly trained workforce. Free certification and re-certification courses, vocational training and business orientation programs are continuously offered to employed and unemployed people to meet the needs of local businesses and increase the marketability of the local workforce.
Montana acquires a well-developed school system that prepares students for success in the local business community. Twenty-three public schools with 805 qualified teachers serve more than 8 900 students. Schools offer technical, business, science and liberal arts courses, flexibly designed to the specific needs of a wide range of businesses. School programs enable students to focus on special areas of study and accelerate their learning. Grant programs are available in elementary, middle and high schools, designed to challenge and stimulate advanced students.
High Schools
- Foreign language high school specializing in English and German languages.
- Math and natural sciences high school
Vocational Training Institutions
Five vocational schools are training more than 2,500 students annually, providing them with professional qualifications to meet the needs of local businesses. The most popular majors are accounting, construction and architecture, economics and management, automobiles, apparel manufacturing and design, and electronics. The vocational schools offer a very favourable teacher/student ratio of 1/12. Moreover, they offer a variety of courses and programs for the local workforce and their curricula are local industry-oriented. The number of new students accepted into vocational schools has increased by 15% in the last year.

983 Students graduate the Vocational and High Schools in 2004/2005

Building and Construction Vocational School
Students study building and architecture, land surveying, construction of transportation networks, building installation and assembly.
Tel: +359 96 303262, 303260

Economic Business School
Specialties include business administration, industrial management, computer information processing, accounting, economics, management, and restaurant management.
Tel: +359 96 300435, 300425

Light Industry Vocational School
Tel: +359 96 305197, 305178

Mechanical Vocational School
Tel: +359 96 300632, 300635

Technical School of Electronics
Tel: +359 96 304090, 301166

The business environment in Montana consists of a wide spectrum of industries with firms operating in national and international markets. These companies take full advantage of the area's natural resources, location, and highly skilled personnel. The privatization process in the region is near completion as foreign investors and manufacturers now own most of the biggest companies in Montana. In Montana are operating 2127 enterprises. Small-scale companies prevail: 91% (1939) of the companies have less than 10 employees, while 24 companies have more than 100 employees. However, these 24 companies constitute over then 80% of the industrial production in Montana. These large companies are primarily active in the production of starting batteries, ceramics, apparel, transport systems, bicycles, shelving, fittings, marble tiles, milk and meat processing.
Income from Sales by Industry – 2003
Montana boasts many well-established and diverse companies who have partnered successfully with international firms for investment, production and sales:
Leading Montana enterprise producing over 1 million lead-acid starter batteries a year with sales in countries including Greece, Macedonia, Hungary, Belarus, Romania, Russia, Ukraine, Yugoslavia, Turkey, England, Norway, Sweden, Czech Republic, South America, and the Middle East. MONBAT employs over 450 people who design and produce batteries for cars, trucks, trains, military planes and helicopters.
Tel: +359 96 393101
Fax: +359 96 300974
Since 1993, CROSS has produced sport utility/mountain bicycles primarily for the European market including Great Britain, Holland, Russia, Finland, Greece, Serbia, and Macedonia. CROSS satisfies customers by producing high quality parts and self-designed frames for bicycles that provide a comfortable, smooth-ride at inexpensive prices. CROSS employs 200 people.
Tel/Fax: +359 96 300725
This is the biggest Spanish investment in Bulgaria. The firm produces galvanized and iron pipeline fittings with exports to European Union countries. Leading employer in Montana, with 600 employees and ISO-9001 certification.
Tel: +359 96 399201
Fax: +359 96 399200
Over 250 employees at MONOLITH mine and manufacture raw stone materials used for exterior and interior wall cladding, flooring and paving, and architectural design elements and structures. Limestone, marble, and travertine are extracted from 8 stone quarries owned by the company. MONOLITH exports stone and tiles all over the world, including Europe, U.S.A., Canada, and the Far East. Proof of the quality of their work is shown by the use of their stones for numerous monuments and structures including Wembley Stadium in London, England.
Tel: +359 96 300854
Fax: +359 96 300857
AVA Sport
Specializes in the design and production of high quality, comfortable paragliding harnesses, skydiving parachutes, and associated accessories for many well-established international companies. AVA Sport currently employs 70 people and is rapidly expanding with sales all over the world, including Canada, Europe, Japan, Middle East and the U.S.A. Their products have been awarded DHV international certification in Germany. They also organize an annual international paragliding competition in Montana.
Tel/Fax: +359 96 300235
Bulgarian-Dutch company producing netlike and solid platforms, stands for bikes, and pipe and wire constrictions for export to Great Britain, France, Austria, Holland, Germany, Belgium, IKEA-Sweden, and Poland. BALKAN currently has 130 employees with processes that are ISO-9001 certified.
Tel: +359 96 300010
Fax: +359 96 300011
Over 285 employees contribute to the production of high-quality glazed floor tiles oriented for sale in the European market. CERAMIC INVEST has over 1 million EUR in foreign investments.
Tel: +359 96 392111
Leading designer and manufacturer of women's ready-made garments, with over 700 employees who produce 800,000 pieces of clothing per year. Exports for textile companies in France, Germany, Belgium, Great Britain, Italy and the Netherlands.
Tel: +359 96 300260
Fax: +359 96 300261
Manufactures special metal constructions, rubber-linear carriers, machines and parts for them. Through partnerships with MANNESMANN-DEMAG, DURR, RIELA, and ACCO, MIR's processes have been awarded ISO-9001 certification contributing to increases in sales and additions to the current staff of 200.
Tel: +359 96 300510
Fax: +359 96 300512
30 employees produce over 500 tons/year of inorganic pigments and paint for Balkan Color, Ltd. and in partnership with Italian based Color Trading, Ltd. for export all over Europe. MONT-PIGMENT ensures high quality by using modern technology and thorough chemical testing during production. Pigments are designed for ceramics, enamel, porcelain, glass, lime and cement mixtures, stoneware tiles and mosaic blocks.
Tel: +359 96 300702
Fax: +359 96 305567
For over 40 years, TRIMONA has produced everyday shoes, sport shoes, and house slippers. The company has received prestigious national awards for the quality and design of their shoes in the recent years. In partnership with European firms, they continue to update their production with new technologies for sale in Bulgaria and other European countries. TRIMONA currently employs 480 people.
Tel: +359 96 301026
Fax: +359 96 301029
VOINOV and Co.
Leading producer of high quality dairy products for the Bulgarian market. VOINOV and Co. currently has 50 employees.
Tel: +359 96 306254

Current Infrastructure Projects and International Partners
Montana is ushering in a bright economic future with the following projects completed or in development:
• Over twenty-year Town-Twinning relationship with Banska Bystrica, Slovakia, which includes exchange activities for youth, culture, sports, local government representatives, economic, environmental, and regional development specialists.
• Establishment of Town-Twinning Programs with other international cities, including cities in Germany, Russia, and Poland.
• Completed project to provide the city with water generated power, funded by private French investors.
• Completed project to develop a gas supply structure, funded by Bulgarian and Foreign private investors.
• Completed project to develop a landfill for solid waste funded by the European Commission ISPA Program - 8.5 million EUR.
• Currently implementing a water treatment plant for the municipality funded by the European Commission ISPA Programme - 15 million EUR.
• Completed project to develop a Customer Service Center in the Municipality with USAID and FLGR funding.
• Establishment of a Digital Telephone Network.
• Completed project to develop a Business Incubator to aid small businesses and start-ups with lower lease costs for space and equipment and discounted business consultancy services through the Bulgarian government and UNDP, JOBS Programme.
• Completed project to develop a JOBS Centre funded by UNDP, JOBS Programme
Montana is included in Bulgaria's fibre optic highway providing an excellent communication system to meet the standards of international business:
• Digital Telephone Network provided by Bulgarian Telecom
• High-speed (to 1 Gbit/sec), cable Internet connection is available from two Internet providers, Optilink and Net-surf, offering the most up-to-date services to the community. Currently 100% of homes have the capability for cable Internet access.
• 35 Internet cafes/clubs
• Full cellular network coverage from three different mobile phone providers, also offering wireless Internet access: Mobiltel, Globul, Vivatel.
Utility Networks
Montana has well-developed water-generated electricity and natural gas supplies that were developed through foreign investment. In order to meet the needs of future consumers, this power supply network was constructed with plans for consumption larger than current usage.
Water Resources and Water Supply Network
The Montana region has numerous water resources supplied by an underground water system, five major rivers, and 16 dams and lakes. The Ogosta Reservoir, situated on the edge of the city, is the second largest reservoir on the Balkan Peninsula and one of the largest in Europe. The 24-hectare reservoir provides water for agricultural irrigation, industrial use, and power generation as well as activities linked with recreation and tourism.
Public Transportation
Bus and rail carriers provide public transportation services to and from Montana. The inter-city bus services are privately owned, guaranteeing high quality and competitive prices for their services.
There are several organizations and associations in Montana that assist existing businesses and work to attract new ones. They provide a variety of services, including consultancy, training, information, and international contacts for starting, expanding and improving business.
Bulgarian Chamber of Commerce and Industry - Montana
Established 105 years ago, the BCCI aims to assist, promote, represent, and protect the economic interests of Bulgarian business - industrialists, producers and traders. The organization carries out a number of specific activities including establishment of e-Commerce info centres and development of publications with information deriving from international conventions, domestic legislation, business law and international practices. BCCI is operating efficiently within the system of chambers of commerce worldwide.
Tel/Fax: +359 96 305660
Regional Development Agency and Business Center - Montana
The RDA & BC was established as a Non-Governmental Organization in 2000 to provide support to small and medium size enterprises in the Montana region. The RDA & BC is a member of the Bulgarian Association of Regional Development Agencies (BARDA). The RDA & BC strives to create sustainable regional development, stimulate community involvement in social and economic regional development, improve the economic performance of the region, and to increase employment by providing consulting, training, and information services for a variety of business needs. Seminars have included marketing, import/exports, project design and management, business planning, and seminars for other NGOs.
Tel: +359 96 300760
Fax: +359 96 300740
Regional Industrial Association of Montana (RIA)
The RIA in the Montana district was founded in 1982 as an economic union of companies, established to incorporate the interests and render support to business in the region. The RIA is a collective member of the Business Industrial Association. 52 industrial and trade companies from Montana and other towns in the region are members. The RIA offers a range of services including: information related to foreign trade activities, organization of business delegations abroad, preparation of business plans in compliance with terms of investment sources, assistance with implementation of international ISO certification, and qualification training.

Montana has highly skilled and motivated workforces who are prepared to work in a competitive market economy, giving another strong incentive for companies to conduct business in the region. A wide variety of skills are available to investors choosing to develop new products, services, and business partnerships in Montana. Montana's residents are also in step with the contemporary IT-driven global economy as the use of the Internet, PCs and mobile telephones has penetrated life in Montana. Careers of the currently employed are ranged from agriculture to light industry and machine building, from commerce to communications.

The stability of the Bulgarian financial and banking system guarantees good financial support for all types of businesses. European banking institutions have opened many offices in Montana and most of the prominent insurance companies in Bulgaria have offices in Montana including some owned by leading European and American insurance companies. Bulgarian National Bank Website:

National and International Banks

Raiffeisen Bank
Tel: +359 96 301291, 301292
Fax: +359 96 303036
. Allianz Bulgaria CB
Tel: +359 96 300811, 300801
Fax: +359 96 300806
. DSK Bank
Tel: +359 96 300510-518
Fax: +359 96 300501
HVB Bank Biochim
Tel: +359 96 306045
Fax: +359 96 307269
. Bulgarian Post Bank
Tel: +359 96 303054
Fax: +359 96 305051
. Central Co-operative Bank
Tel: +359 96 300810
Fax: +359 96 300800
International Asset Bank
Tel: +359-96-300085
Fax: +359-96-300089
. Hebros Bank
Tel: +359 96 303062, 303063
Fax: +359 96 303062
. First Investment Bank
Tel: +359 96 304400
Fax: +359 96 304401
DZI Bank
Tel/Fax: +359 96 301210
. United Bulgarian Bank
Tel: +359 96 22560
Fax: +359 96 23296
. Economic & Investment Bank
Tel: +359 96 307363, 304100
Fax: +359 96 304101
SG Express Bank
Tel: +359 96 391980
Fax: +359 96 391984
. Bulbank
Tel: +359 96 301352
Fax: +359 301681
. .
Insurance Companies:
Allianz Bulgaria
Tel: +359 96 300806, 300802
Fax: +359 96 300803
Tel/Fax: +359 96 300881
  Municipal Insurance Company
Tel/Fax: +359 96 301 349
Tel: +359 96 300668
Fax: +359 96 300667
  DZI Group
Tel: +359 96 301214
Fax: +359 96 301211
Tel: +359 96 300797
Fax: +359 96 300798
Montana is a pleasant European town with a long history, hospitable people, a clear environment and pleasant places for rest and tourism. Just a 1.5-hour drive from the Bulgarian capital, Sofia, leads you to a wonderful place to live, work, and study with everything from arts and culture to shopping, sports, and health care. Montana's 4-season climate is just right for year-round recreation. Quality time can be spent in the numerous parks, the close 4 monasteries, and the open-air swimming pool.
Montana was established during ancient times and has managed to survive through the ups and downs of its rich and tragic history.
4th - 1st Centuries B.C.:
Thracian tribes settled in the fertile picturesque valley of the Ogosta River. Part of an ancient Thracian fortress was discovered under the Roman fortification in Montana.
29 B.C.:
The area of Montana was occupied by the Romans and became part of a Roman province called Misia.
134 A.D.:
Due to the important geographical and economic position of the Ogosta valley, a Roman military garrison, called Castra ad Montanesium (Fortress in the Mountain), was established where the present city is located. The fort still overlooks the town.
161 A.D.:
The settlement was given the status of a center with municipal rights and was granted the name Montana, coming from "mons" - which means mountain.
7th - 8th Centuries:
Montana virtually disappeared after the fall of the Roman Empire. The Slavs later developed the area into a small roadside settlement called Koutlovitsa on the ruins of Montana.
9th - 11th Centuries:
Little is known about Montana during the First and Second Bulgarian Kingdom's; however artefacts found in the region indicate that the area continued as a growing settlement that adopted Christianity.
The area was conquered by the Ottoman Turks and declined as an economic and cultural center.
16th Century:
The area started to become a Turkish stronghold against Austria's invasion. Two churches exist dating from this period.
The Liberation of Koutlovitsa from Ottoman control. Montana survived the turbulent period of Ottoman oppression thanks to its military, political and market functions.
After the National Liberation, the town became the center of a district under the name Ferdinand, after the Bulgarian King Ferdinand. Agriculture, trade and industry developed during this period.
The town was renamed Mihailovgrad at the beginning of the Communist regime in honor of the local revolutionary Hristo Mihailov, leader of the 1923 anti-fascist uprising.
After the fall of Communism, the town adopted the ancient name Montana after an Issue signed by the first Bulgarian democratic president. Today Montana is an important economical, transport, cultural and educational center.
Peaceful Life
Montana residents appreciate the privacy, tranquillity and safety of a small town away from the congestion of Sofia. Montana is proud to have an extremely low crime rate with a 10.03% decline in crime from 2003 to 2004. In addition, Montana has one of the highest rates in Bulgaria of closed crime cases.
Health Care
Montana's health care facilities are conveniently structured and equipped. Montana's regional public hospital has a four star accreditation and a highly qualified medical staff who are on-call 24-hours a day. Built in 2000, the Emergency Room center is one of the best-equipped in Bulgaria. All Bulgarian citizens receive health insurance with free medical services.
The town center is always active and the nightlife in Montana has much to offer. Any night you can choose between going to lively discotheques, comfortable outdoor cafes, or cosy, quiet restaurants offering the flavour of Bulgarian national cuisine. All types of entertainment are available, with numerous bars, nightclubs, cafes, discotheques, a casino, a bingo hall, and a movie theatre.
Sports and Nature
Montana has wonderful places for picnics, hiking, fishing and sports activities. Three parks are located throughout the town and the "Ogosta" Reservoir is just 2 km from the city center boasting the biggest open-air water complex in northwest Bulgaria. The sports resort complex "Augusta", situated on the wall of the dam, is a great place for sport activities with an Olympic-size swimming pool, double-speed water slide, bungee-jumping, and boating facilities for a wide variety of water sports.
The pristine environment provides possibilities for the development of tourist sports, hunting and fishing, and water sports. Football, basketball, volleyball, cycling, wrestling, karate, judo, track and field, automobile racing, and paragliding are available at Montana's sports centres and licensed sports' clubs. Montana also celebrates International Earth Day through various school and club celebrations and events.
Montana's rich culture has been influenced by a variety of cultures that have lived in the region over the years. This eclecticism is seen not only through valuable cultural and historical monuments displayed in the many museums, but also through the colours of the urban environment such as modern buildings, neon signs and street cafes quite typical for the Balkans.
Cultural monuments and artefacts can be found at institutions such as the Historical Museum, the Geo Milev Regional Library, the “Razoum” Cultural Center, the Public Record Office, and the Kiril Petrov Art Gallery. The Gallery is one of the best-stocked art galleries outside of Sofia containing over 2,350 works of art. Concerts, literary events, exhibits, and lectures are also continually organized by Montana institutions.
In 2001, Montana was proud to unveil a Lapidarium displaying many epigraphic monuments dating from the Is' and 2nd centuries. Other cultural monuments near the park include an orthodox temple, an Islamic mosque, a house built in a style from the Revival period, and a monument erected during the communist regime.
The theatres, schools and cultural clubs also enrich the cultural life of the city by performing Bulgarian traditional dances and songs in addition to modern aspects of dance, music and theatre. Many celebrations, festivals and cross-cultural events are held each year.
Tourist Agencies and Firms
IRKATUR Tourist Agency
Organizes tourist excursions and transport services on luxury buses in Bulgaria and abroad. Also makes bus and train reservations.
Tel/Fax: +359 96 300704
Organizes tourist group excursions in country and abroad. Also makes hotel and bus reservations. Plans for expansion include building a hotel and additional tourist services at the present location at the Montana bus station.
Tel: +359 96 306454
+359 96 306770
Established in 1919, the Tourist Association is an NGO providing tourism opportunities to socially disadvantaged groups such as students and pensioners. The association works with volunteers and local clubs to organize events and tours in country and abroad in areas such as cycling, hiking, walking, swimming and culture.
Tel: +359 96 305251
Hotel "Montana" * *
• 11 rooms with a double bed, 4 rooms with single beds, 5 small apartments and 2 large apartments - breakfast included.
• Features an indoor restaurant, outdoor garden restaurant, and nightclub.
• Caters events for 75 people and can accommodate 45 people in the conference room.
Tel: +359 96 300404
Fax: +359 96 306252
. Hotel "Ogosta" * * *
• 8 rooms with a double bed, 2 rooms with single beds, and 2 apartments - breakfast included.
• 12-15 person capacity conference hall, restaurant and bar, summer terrace, bingo hall, and parking lot.
Tel/Fax: +359 96 306310
Hotel "Zhitomir" * *
• 16 single rooms, 65 double rooms and 6 apartments - 20% discount for tour groups.
• 25 person capacity conference hall, 240 seat restaurant, nightclub, snack bar, summer terrace, fitness center, commercial and bank office, and parking lot.
Tel: +359 96 305582
Fax: +359 96 306197
. Sports and Attractions Complex "Augusta" *
• Situated on the wall of the "Ogosta" Reservoir (2 km from Montana's center), the sports complex has a swimming pool, double-speed water slide, bungee-jumping, beach bars, and summer and winter restaurants.
• 5 bungalows with a view of the Stara Planina Mountains and 10 private rooms with two beds and a private bath.
• The complex also offers jet-skis, water skis, yachts and boats for rental.
Tel: +359 96 307100
Tavern - Hotel "Bulgarians" * *
• 2 single rooms, 8 double rooms and an apartment with private bath, AC, television, telephone and Internet access.
• Sightseeing, bus/train reservations, room service, currency exchange, safety boxes for valuables, and secured parking are also available.
• Tavern "Bulgarians" has room for 50 people, offering over 150 traditional Bulgarian dishes and live performances of Bulgarian folk music.
• Cafe "Laguna" can hold 40 people, plus 40 additional garden seats open in the spring and summer months. The Cafe offers a variety of coffees, fresh drinks, and sweets in a pleasant atmosphere.
Tel: +359 96 305600
Fax: +359 96 305601

Come to discover the competitive advantages Montana has to offer for local businesses and international investors – strategic location, highly skilled workforce, supportive and open community and local authorities!
If you have any questions as you peruse this brochure, do not hesitate to contact us. We are always available to answer any questions, discuss concerns or ideas, and provide more information about Montana and future possibilities here.

For more information, please contact:  
Municipality of Montana
dipl. eng. Vesela Kolarska - Deputy mayor
Tel: +359 96 300 410
Deyan Dimitrov
Head of Sustainable Development and European Integration Department
Tel: +359 96 394 262
dipl. eng. Daniela Nakova
Chief Expert of Investment policy
Tel: +359 96 394 228
1, Izvora Street  
BG-3400 Montana,  
Phone: + 359 (0)96 300 400  
Fax: + 359 (0)96 300 401  


Internet: ;