Inter RAO Eyes Enel's Bulgaria Coal-Fired Plant, Wind Parks - Report

Energy | November 19, 2010, Friday // 09:57|  views

Talks about the sale of Maritsa East 3, a Bulgarian coal-fired plant with a capacity of 908 megawatts, emerged for the first time at the beginning of March. Photo by

Russia's state power trader Inter RAO wants to acquire not only the majority stake of Italian energy giant Enel in Maritsa East 3, a Bulgarian coal-fired plant, but also its wind parks near the Black Sea coast, according to reports.

"We will offer in exchange the Russian government's stake in Russian power producer OGK-5, controlled by Italy's Enel," Boris Kovalchuk, Chairman of Management Board at Inter RAO UES, said, as cited by Moscow-based Komersant newspaper.

Italian energy major Enel owns 56% of OGK-5, the Russian government owns 26.4% and the rest is held by minority shareholders, including the EBRD. Inter RAO is expected to take over the governmental share at the end of this year or the beginning of next year.

Should the Russian company acquire Enel's assets in Bulgaria, it will become of the biggest energy companies in the country, accounting for about 12% of its electricity output.

Komersant newspaper cites experts, who say Inter RAO's planned Bulgarian purchases fit in well with the strategy of the Russian company, which already owns GRES, the largest power station of Moldova, which exports electricity to Romania and Bulgaria.

Inter RAO also plans to be part of the consortium, which will construct the 4.8 GW Akkuyu nuclear plant. Turkey's first nuclear power plant is scheduled to be put into operations in 2011, with completion expected in 2018.

Russia's Inter RAO has been tipped as the most likely buyer of a majority stake in Bulgaria's Maritsa East 3 coal-fired power plant, controlled by Italy's Enel SpA, according to Italian media reports from the beginning of October.

Inter RAO may be the leading candidate among five bidders interested in Maritza, Italian daily Il Messaggero reported, without citing sources.

According to the report Enel, advised by Deutsche Bank AG, aims to pocked EUR 600 M from the sale and talks are at advanced stage.

Fulvio Conti, CEO of Enel SpA, said at the beginning of September that the Italian company will sell its stake in Bulgaria's Maritsa East 3 power plant in the fall of 2010.

Conti made it clear that Enel plans to sell gas distribution assets in Spain by September, and its Bulgarian coal-fired power plant shortly after that, but declined to give a value for the sales.

In late July, Austria's utility EVN, which already owns EVN Bulgaria, an electricity distribution company in south and southeast Bulgaria, confirmed it is holding talks for the acquisition of a majority stake in the Maritsa East 3 coal-fired power plant.

British utility International Power, US power producer AES Corp. and CEZ AS are also said to have shown interest in acquiring Enel majority stake in Maritsa East 3.

A year ago Enel increased the capacity of Maritsa East Three plant to 908 megawatts, up from 840 MW, and also put new desulphurisation installations on the plant's four units.

Experts comment that the potential buyer is probably eying a 100% stake in the plant, in which the state owns a 27% stake. The rumors were fanned by a statement of Energy and Economy Minister Traicho Traikov, who recently announced that the state can land EUR 200 M from the sale of its stake in the plant.

The plant is located in the Maritsa East lignite coal mining complex in southern Bulgaria, which generates 30% of the country's electricity. Enel also owns seven wind parks of 3 megawatts near the Black Sea coast.

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Tags: Maritsa East, OGK-5, Inter Rao, EVN, Maritsa East 3, Enel, International Power, Alpine Bau, Russia, Russian, Fulvio Conti, Inter RAO UES, UES


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