Laos to issue US$42.5 million in bonds for 615-MW Nam Ngum 2

The Laos government plans to issue bonds worth up to 1.5 billion baht (US$42.5 million) to help finance the country’s 615-MW Nam Ngum 2 hydroelectric project, a Thai government spokesman said December 18.

“The Lao government will be first country to issue Thai baht bonds,” chief spokesman Yongyuth Mayalarp told reporters after a visit by Lao Prime Minister Bouasone Bouphavanh.

The bonds would be issued by the Lao power state enterprise and guaranteed by state-run Export-Import Bank of Thailand, he said.

Earlier that day, the Thai government signed a memorandum of understanding to lend the Lao government up to 1 billion baht (US28.3 million) or the equivalent amount in other currencies to finance the construction of the dam and its hydropower plant.

Nam Ngum 2, due to start operations in 2013, is part of Thailand’s long-term plan to purchase 5,000 MW from its neighbor, whose top export is electricity.

The project is being developed by a joint venture firm, SouthEast Asia Energy Co., with Thai construction firm Ch Karnchang PCL the largest shareholder with a 28.5 percent stake. The Lao government and Ratchaburi Electricity Generating Holding each hold a 25 percent stake and Thai highway operator Bangkok Expressway PCL has 12.5 percent.

SouthEast Asia Energy previously awarded contracts to Mitsui &Co. and Toshiba Corp. of Japan and Alstom Projects India Ltd. to supply equipment to Nam Ngum 2, which is being built on the upper Nam Ngum River about 90 kilometers from Vientiane. (HNN 9/4/06)

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