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Energy Facilities’ Privatization Results Unclear
Civil Georgia, Tbilisi / 19 Jun.'06 / 14:39

President Saakashvili said in an interview with the Tbilisi-based Imedi TV aired on June 18 that Russian energy giant United Energy Systems has took over some of the Georgia’s energy facilities, while others were bought by a western and Georgian companies.

The Georgian Economy Ministry launched consideration of privatization bids made by eight companies for Georgia’s six hydro power plants and three electricity distribution companies on June 16.

But the Economy Ministry declined on June 19 to comment on the statement of the President and said that the Ministry has five days (before June 21) to make official announcement about the privatization results.
 
“A year ago it was unimaginable that our energy facilities could be sold for up to 300 million [U.S.] dollars. And even if this could have happened [year ago], only Russian giant companies would buy them [Georgia’s energy facilities]. But now it has not happen. Russia’s UES [United Energy Systems] has bought only a small part [of energy facilities] and we did not hinder them [in this purchase]; but the major part of [energy facilities] was [bought] by a western company in a fair and an equal competition,” Saakashvili said in the interview with the Imedi TV, but he did not specify the name of this “western company.”

He mentioned this issue, while speaking about entire privatization process in the country. Saakashvili said that the process was held “phenomenally well.”

Russian giant United Energy Systems (UES) has made its bid for two hydro power plants – Ats and Dzirula – and was ready to pay USD 4,5 and USD 20 million, respectively. There were total of six hydro power plants put for the privatization.

The Russia’s UES has also made its bid for Adjara Electricity Distribution Company and offers USD 6 million. There were a total of three electricity distribution companies on sale.

The Czech company Energy-Pro has expressed willingness to purchase all six hydro power plants for a total price of about USD 150 million, which was the highest bid for the hydro power plants.

A total of eight companies, including TBC Energy, which is part of the Georgian TBC Group, made their bids during the privatization of the energy facilities. 

In the interview, Saakashvili also noted that he is proud that the Georgian company could buy Electricity Distribution Company in Kakheti, eastern Georgian region. But he again did not specify name of the company.

Saakashvili also said that there is no need to be afraid of the Russian capital, as privatization process is carried out in a transparent way and only those with better privatization bids will win.

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