Investor United Capital has withdrawn its offer to purchase Doverie, the largest pension fund in Bulgaria, according to Peter Hagen, chief executive at Austrian insurance group VIG, the major shareholder in the scheme.

VIG’s previous announcement that it planned to sell Doverie to United Capital caused a major uproar in Bulgaria last year.

Critics pointed to a lack of transparency behind United Capital’s financing sources, as well as its overall strategy for the pension fund.

Attempts by IPE to get any statement from United Capital on the deal have failed regularly in recent months.

Today in Vienna, Hagen said: “A withdrawal from the purchase was not covered by the contract, but we will not be forcing anyone to buy Doverie.”

He added that, “for now”, VIG planned to hold onto a “very well performing” pension fund that would report a new record profit of €8m for 2013.

But Hagen repeated his statement made over a year ago that “pension funds are not part of our core business”.

He said VIG would therefore be open to “attractive purchase offers” for Doverie, as well as its share in the VBV, Austria’s largest pension fund.

“If there is somebody who wants to buy our share in the Pensionskasse, we will be very willing to negotiate, and our finance department would be very happy,” Hagen said.