BULGARIA – UK-based United Capital, with the help of a new investor, has finalised the purchase of a majority stake in Doverie, Bulgaria's largest pension fund.

News of the takeover earlier this month had triggered a wave of criticism that included even the Bulgarian government, which threatened to block the deal over transparency concerns.

United Capital has now issued a press release with details on the merger plan, which regulators in Bulgaria and the UK must still approve.

The company said it signed a definitive agreement with Austria's Vienna Insurance Group (VIG) to acquire 92.58% of Doverie. It added that its shareholders would fund the transaction.

Before closing the deal, United Capital will have Moscow-based Lighthouse Capital as a new shareholder.

Russian investor Sergey Mastiugin, the majority shareholder in United Capital, recently acquired Lighthouse, an asset manager that specialises in servicing insurance and pension funds in Central and Eastern Europe.

United Capital also announced that it has hired Magomed Alikhanov, previously deputy chief executive at Zurich Financial Services in Moscow.

Meanwhile, during the presentation of VIG's first-half results in Vienna, chief executive Peter Hagen said he could not estimate how long the Bulgarian regulator would take to approve the deal.

"We are working very hard to close the deal as soon as possible, and I can say that we see a light at the end of the tunnel," he said.