Russian Inter RAO Mulls Borrowing EUR 300 M to Buy Bulgarian TPP

Energy | January 28, 2011, Friday // 10:21|  views

The Maritsa East 3 Thermal Power Plant. File photo

Russian state-owned energy company Inter RAO considers to borrow EUR 300 M in order to buy the Bulgarian Maritsa East 3 Thermal Power Plant from the Italian Enel.

The money will be borrowed from the Russian Sberbank, Gazprombank and VTB, according to Bulgarian media. Inter RAO plans to buy 73% of the Thermal Power Plant.

However, experts have recently commented 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.

US investment fund Contour Global was until recently considered the most probable buyer of for the 908 megawatt Maritsa East 3 coal-fired plant in Bulgaria, but it is facing funding problems, according to the Bulgarian Capital weekly.

Experts 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.

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.

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.

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Tags: Maritsa East 3, thermal power plant, Inter Rao, Enel, Russian, Italian, coal, electricity


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