The Czech company Energo-Pro and the Georgian government are close to finalizing the long-awaited largest energy privatization deal, officials said on January 24. The initial terms of the deal seem to have been revised.
After winning a privatization bid in June 2006, Energo-Pro pledged to buy Georgia’s United Energy Distribution Company (UDC) and the Energy Distribution Company of Adjara, as well as six hydroelectric power plants: Lajanuri, Rioni, Gumati, Shaori, Dzevrula and Ats, for a total of USD 312,3 million. But no final agreement had been signed between the Georgian government and the company, triggering speculations that the deal was close to falling through.
Georgian Economy Minister Giorgi Arveladze said that the sides have agreed that the Czech company will now pay to the state USD 132 million, but in addition the company pledged to invest USD 175 million in rehabilitation of energy generation and distribution systems and USD 120 million in construction of a new hydro power plant.
“We are all satisfied with the final results. The major essence of the deal is that instead of receiving USD 312 million in the state budget, we will now receive USD 132 million in the state budget and up to USD 300 million in the country’s energy system,” Giorgi Arveladze said at a news conference after a government session.
“I am satisfied with the results of the negotiations [with Energo-Pro]. Very tough work has been done,” Prime Minister Zurab Nogaideli said, adding that only “some minor legal details” remain to finalize the agreement.