Although Egged Bus Company is losing customers in Israel to rival transportation companies, its business in Bulgaria is booming.
According to Egged Chairman Gideon Mizrahi, the company is considering increasing operations in Eastern European countries, following successes with bus lines in Bulgaria.
The Bulgarian Trans-Triumph company was purchased by Egged in May 2006, and logged NIS 3 million (about $700,000) in profits last year – a 66 percent increase from its NIS 1.8 million (about $430,000) in earnings in 2005.
The majority of Trans-Triumph's increased revenues came on the heels of its purchase by Egged Holdings – a subsidiary of Egged. They increased to NIS 25 million (about $6 million), up from NIS 16 million (about $3.8 million) in 2005.
Egged Holdings bought 51 percent of the company, which is now the largest supplier of public transportation in Bulgaria. It holds permits for more than 50 percent of bus lines in the city of Varna and owns 140 of the city's 250 buses.
The company currently transports 1.2 million passengers per month, and this is expected to increase: Mizrahi said the company has recently won several bids, including a bus line to and from Varna's airport, tour company deals and an inter-city Sofia-Varna bus line.
According to Mizrahi, Egged's success in Bulgaria derives from the company's high standards of comfort, security and concern for the environment, as well as its capacity to buy and maintain buses in good condition at a good price.