Georgia plant sales

Georgia is to sell controlling stakes in seven major hydropower plants and one thermal plant in 1999 to raise money for its cash-strapped power sector.

The stakes will be sold to private investors to raise capital to modernise the industry and pay for energy imports. The strategically important Inguri hydro- power plant will not be sold.

None of the 60 main hydropower stations in the former Soviet state is working at full capacity, and there is not sufficient money to maintain them, according to Deputy State Property Minister Merab Gabunia. Foreign investors will be given the same rights as domestic bidders in the sale process.

The government recently sold a 75 per cent stake in the Telasi distribution company to AES for $25m.