Czech firm buys six privatized Georgia hydro plants

Czech Republic hydropower operator Energo-Pro has acquired six Georgia hydroelectric projects totaling 361.4 MW, agreeing to pay US$197.32 million in a June 20 privatization auction.

Energo-Pro also paid Georgia’s Ministry of Economic Development a total of $115 million for two regional distribution utilities being privatized. The winning bid prices all were significantly higher than the starting bid prices.

Hydro projects purchased, with sale prices and starting bid prices, include:
o Lajanuri, 112.5 MW, Lajanuri River at Tsageri, US$66.5 million, starting bid price US$26 million;
o Rioni, 48 MW, Rioni River at Kutaisi, US$44.7 million, starting price US$14 million;
o Gumati Cascade plants, 66.5 MW, Rioni River at Kutaisi, US$45 million, starting price US$12 million;
o Shaori, 38.4 MW, Shaori River at Tkibuli, US$16 million, starting price US$12 million;
o Dzevruli, 80 MW, at Terjola, US$20 million, starting price US$14 million; and
o Atsi, 16 MW, at Keda, US$5.12 million, starting price US$4 million.

Energo-Pro also paid US$85 million for utility United Energy Distribution Co. of Georgia, of Tbilisi, which had a starting price of US$30 million. It paid US$30 million for Energy Co. of Adjara, of Batumi, which had a starting price of US$5 million.

Another bidder, TBC Energy, a unit of Georgia’s TBC Group, paid US$5.1 million to acquire a third distribution utility, Kakheti Energy Distribution Co., which had a starting price of US$2 million.

As winning bidder, Energo-Pro is required to maintain working capacity of the hydro projects at no less than 85 percent of installed capacity. Additionally, 50 percent of the privatization amount for all the hydro plants but Shaori is to be paid within one month of the signing of a purchase agreement, with the remaining 50 percent paid by December 1. (HNN 2/15/06)

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