Duke sells interest in Bolivia hydro assets

U.S. power company Duke Energy Corp. said February 5 its international unit completed the sale of its 50 percent ownership stake in two hydroelectric plants in Bolivia to Econergy International.

Duke said it sold its interest in 147 MW of hydro near Cochabamba, Bolivia, for US$20 million.

Faced with Bolivia’s plans to nationalize energy infrastructure, Duke previously said it was in talks with a potential buyer of its Bolivian assets. (HNN 1/3/07) Duke had told the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission that Duke and its Duke Capital affiliate held discussions in December that were subject to a binding agreement between parties.

The North Carolina-based utility holding company owned a 50 percent stake in the 126-MW Corani hydroelectric project in Bolivia. It purchased 50 percent controlling interest in Empresa Electrica Corani in 1999 with other Latin American assets of U.S. utility Dominion Energy.

Duke said it would take a pretax charge of about US$28 million related to the sale. Previously, Duke had expected a charge of US$50 million to be taken in the fourth quarter of 2006.

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