ELEVEN COMPANIES TO BE BIDDING FOR THREE THERMOELECTRIC POWER PLANTS
Only one of the initial candidates for the purchase of the thermoelectric power stations in Bobov Dol, Varna, and Rousse, gave up the competition, Atanas Bangachev, Executive Director of the Privatisation Agency (PA) announced on January 11. It was the Indian company National Thermal Power. Each of the other eleven firms that filed documents was issued a certificate for participation. They are: the Russian RAO, Japan's Mitsui and J Power, the French Dalkia, the Greek RRS, Italy's Enel, the British International Power, the American AES, and the three new owners of the Bulgarian electricity distribution companies - the Czech company CEZ, Austria's EVN, and the German E.ON.Most of the companies have shown interest towards all three thermoelectric power plants, but it will be clear when they deposit at the PA the required amount for participation, Mr. Bangachev said. Detailed information about the power stations will be provided at a special INTERNET site, available by a password to candidates only. The eleven bidders may buy information memoranda and should submit their final offers at the PA by March 30.The PA will be selling up to 100% of the three power plants' capital. A small share might be kept for satisfying restitution claims. At least 51% of the stocks should be paid at the time of the sale and the company's capital is to be raised by an instalment in cash in order to reach at least 67 per cent. The remaining shares will also be part of the deal, but they could be acquired till July 2007, when the Bulgarian energy market will be completely liberalized. The State, however, will be charging interest for missed benefits on the value of stock that are not immediately purchased, Mr. Bangachev specified. In the contract with the buyer of Bobov Dol there will be a special clause regarding the electricity generated from domestic coal. Interest towards Bulgaria is going up due to the gradual synchronization of the country's energy legislation with that of the European Union (EU), the development of market relations in the sector, the improvement of investment climate in Bulgaria, and its forthcoming accession to the EU, commented Vladimir Smaltz, one of CEZ directors.Meanwhile, Credit Suisse First Boston - the bank consulting the sale of the power stations - has prepared an analysis of the Bulgarian electricity energy market. The document will be filed to the Ministry of Energy and the State Commission for Energy Regulation and the candidates for the purchase of the three power stations will be acquainted with it.