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Oct 17, 2007 18:56 EEST
October 17 (SeeNews) - Bulgaria's power grid operator NETC said on Wednesday that five European majors have filed preliminary bids vieing to become strategic investors in a 2,000-megawatt (MW) nuclear power plant project in the town of Belene, on the Danube River.
"The companies that filed preliminary offers are Electrabel, CEZ, E.ON, ENEL and RWE," NETC said in a statement.
They were among six international majors which Bulgaria invited in July to bid to acquire up to 49% of the company that will build and operate the Belene plant. The remaining 51% will remain with state-owned NETC.
The six companies, which included also French EDF, faced a 0930 GMT, October 17 deadline.
NETC signed confidentiality agreements with the six invited companies and provided them with an information memorandum on the project for the construction of Belene, after which the companies were allowed to carry out due diligence.
Companies that want to acquire a stake equal to or smaller than 25% in the plant's operator are Spanish Endesa, Swiss EGL and ATEL and Cumerio Med, the Bulgarian subsidiary of Belgian copper maker Cumerio, NETC said. The four companies will be invited to file their offers if the strategic investors and NETC need them during the negotiations.
Last year, NETC awarded a 3.99 billion euro ($5.7 billion) deal to Russia's Atomstroyexport to build the power plant at Belene. The first of the future plant's two reactors of 1,000-MW each should go online by January 2014.
Bulgaria hopes that the Belene plant will make up for the generating capacity and power exports it lost after closing down a second pair of Soviet-built reactors of 440 MW each at its existing Kozloduy nuclear power plant at the end of 2006. The country closed the first pair of 440-MW reactors at Kozloduy in 2002 under pressure from the European Union. Now Kozloduy operates its two remaining nuclear reactors of 1,000 MW each.
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