Andes Energia acquires interest in Argentina’s 60-MW Ameghino

Investment firm Andes Energia plc announced October 8 it intends to acquire indirect controlling interest in Hidroelectrica Ameghino S.A. (HASA), operator of the 60-MW Ameghino hydroelectric project in Argentina’s Chubut Province.

Andes Energia, a London Stock Exchange-listed firm until recently named Ragusa Capital, said it would exercise an option to acquire 80 percent interest in Hidroelectrica del Sur S.A., which owns 59 percent of HASA.

HASA has a 50-year concession that commenced in 1994 to operate the hydro plant, which began operation in 1968. Ameghino generated about 334 GWh in 2006 and employs 26 people. In 2006 HASA had an audited profit before tax of US$3.7 million on turnover of US$6.7 million.

Andes Energia said the option is exercisable up to October 31 in return for the issue of 6.2 million ordinary shares and payment of US$6.5 million in cash. The firm said the remaining 20 percent of the shares in Hidroelectrica del Sur will be held by electricity distribution cooperatives. The other shareholders of Hidroelectrica Ameghino S.A. are Chubut with 39 percent and the employees with 2 percent.

The HASA option is part of a plan by Andes Energia to buy utility assets and oil and gas exploration interests in Argentina for an initial US$72.5 million.

Andes Energia also is buying a stake in Empresa Distribuidora de Electricidad de Mendoza S.A. (Edemsa), the main electricity distribution company in Argentina’s Mendoza Province, which has about 337,000 customers and employs 630 people. It also has agreed to buy a 50 percent stake in SODEM S.A., which has a 51 percent controlling interest in Edemsa. It is also buying 100 percent of Integra Oil and Andes Oil.

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