Czech firm completes purchase of six Georgia hydro plants

Officials of Czech hydropower operator Energo-Pro and Georgia’s Economy Ministry signed a contract February 5 completing Energo-Pro’s acquisition of six Georgia hydroelectric projects totaling 361.4 MW and two regional distribution utilities.

Although Energo-Pro was named winner of a Georgia privatization auction in 2006, it took another seven months of negotiations to arrive at final purchase price totaling US$427 million. (HNN 6/23/06) Energo-Pro is to pay US$132 million for the assets, plus more than US$100 million in distribution network modernization, US$85 million in hydro plant rehabilitation, and US$100 million invested in construction of a new 100-MW hydropower plant, Civil Georgia news service reported.

Officials said the initial price of US$312 million for the assets was reduced to avoid an increased tariff on consumers.

Hydro projects purchased include:
o Lajanuri, 112.5 MW, Lajanuri River at Tsageri;
o Rioni, 48 MW, Rioni River at Kutaisi;
o Gumati Cascade plants, 66.5 MW, Rioni River at Kutaisi;
o Shaori, 38.4 MW, Shaori River at Tkibuli;
o Dzevruli, 80 MW, at Terjola; and
o Atsi, 16 MW, at Keda.

The distribution utilities are United Energy Distribution Co. of Georgia, of Tbilisi, and Energy Co. of Adjara, of Batumi.

Georgia, which has been conducting a program of hydro plant privatization, last year approved a memorandum of understanding allowing the sale of the 256-MW Vartsikhe hydropower cascade to British steel maker Stemcor UK Ltd. for US$57 million. (HNN 9/21/06)

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