Boneser Trading outbid Czech power company Energo-pro at a July 19 privatization auction for Georgia’s oldest hydropower plant, 42-MW Zahesi.
The government said July 20 that the little-known company paid almost three times the auction starting price of US$15 million. (HNN 6/26/07)
Ilya Gotsiridze, the head of the privatization department at Georgia’s Ministry of Economic Development, said Boneser paid US$41 million for the idle Zahesi, also called Avchala. The plant was built on the Kura River near Tbilisi in 1927. Its six turbines now require major maintenance.
Gotsiridze said Boneser is an offshore firm controlled by Georgian businessmen, without elaborating.
Georgia wants to privatize its power generating assets to improve power supply and put an end to its protracted energy crisis. Russia’s former power monopoly, Unified Energy Systems, and Energo-pro control most of Georgia’s power stations and distribution firms.
Energo-Pro and the Ministry of Economic Development signed a contract in February completing Energo-Pro’s acquisition of six Georgia hydroelectric projects totaling 361.4 MW and two regional distribution utilities.