Results add to Siloviye speculation

The 2004 financial results released by the Russian based Power Machines Company (Siloviye Mashiny) have added to the speculation over possible take-over contenders.

Both revenue and EBITDA were up 81 per cent, to $639m and $82m, respectively, in the preliminary unaudited IFRS results. The figures matched the company’s own predictions at the beginning of 2004.

Commentators have viewed Siloviye Mashiny’s results as positive, highlighting the fact that its revenues exceed those of OMZ, which was left in considerable disarray after the merger between the two failed to materialize earlier this year.

Since that proposed merger fell through, Siemens has bid to acquire control through a JV with controlling shareholder Interros, but a deal has been on hold since July 2004 pending anti-trust approval.

However, more than one other party has shown an interest. Speaking at a plant opening Anatoly Chubais, CEO of RAO UES, said his company “would have something to suggest” if the authorities rejected the bid from Siemens.

Iraq’s power supply shows significant improvement

The provision of generators and the purchase of several power plants will result in a “significant improvement” in Iraq’s electricity grid this over the next few months, according to Dr Ayham al-Samarra’i, Iraq’s Minister for Electricity.

The extra 3700 MW that is scheduled to flow into the grid in the near future is expected to solve many of the nation’s power problems and reduce outage, to around six hours per day.

Around two thirds of Iraq’s grid has been restored in just over a year, using mostly domestic labour, and there are now 7000 policemen responsible for the protection of its power supply. The country’s supply had previously been affected by theft of transmission lines and problematic power stations.

Companies compete in Bulgaria

US-based company AES, Czech company CEZ and Italian utility Enel have all expressed an interest in exporting electricity produced by three thermal power plants in Bulgaria, before 2007.

The three companies, together with Austria’s EVN, Germany’s E.ON, Greece’s Public Power Corporation, RAO EES of Russia and Britain’s International Power, France’s Dalkia International and J Power and Mitsui of Japan, are competing to acquire the power stations and should submit proposals by 30 March.

The plants in Varna, Rousse and Bobov Dol are in the midst of privatization procedures. The new owners are expected to cover the necessary environmental retrofitting and modernization.

The monopoly of national electricity grid operator NETC over the transmission of power, including exports, will expire when Bulgaria’s accession to the EU takes effect.

Albania contracts distribution upgrade

Three Albanian towns are to have their power distribution networks upgraded by Iberdrola and the Greek branch of Siemens, after the southeast European country’s state-owned electric company awarded contracts worth €18.5m ($24.5m).

Post-communist Albania has suffered frequent power cuts due to a lack of rain for the hydroelectric stations that provide the majority of the nation’s energy output.

The Albanian Electro-Energy Corporation, also known as KESH, announced that Iberdrola would install distribution substations, while Siemens was selected to improve distribution power meters and lines.

The projects, in Durres, Elbasan and Berat are to be completed within 15 months and will be financed with borrowings from the World Bank.

GCC first phase out to tender

The Dammam-based GCC Interconnection Authority (GCCIA) has begun tendering for the first phase of the $1.2bn GCC electricity grid project, which will link the power networks of Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Bahrain and Qatar.

Contractor prequalification for engineering, procurement and construction of the project was completed in November 2004.

Five packages covering thirteen lots have been created. They cover: substations; high voltage direct current terminals; overhead lines; submarine cable; and control centre and telecommunications.

The separate deadlines for the lots range from 15 April to 13 May 2005.

Fujairah meets demand for power and water plant

A Dh3.5bn ($953m) water desalination and power plant is to be constructed in Fujairah after the Abu Dhabi state- owned water and electricity company, PJSC, conducted a successful feasibility study in the district of Qidfa.

Speaking to Al Khaleej newspaper, Khalid Al Fardan of PJSC said that the new desalination plant would enable the company to meet the extra demand in the eastern region of Abu Dhabi. The region’s load is increasing, due to agricultural and population expansion, as well as the development of the Fujairah and Northern Emirates.

News digest

Bulgaria: Loans from the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development and the European Investment Bank are to pay for the €9m ($12m) expansion and reconstruction of the Plovdiv power utility substation in Bulgaria.

Dubai: The Dubai Electricity and Water Authority has awarded contracts worth almost $354m for projects including the 400 MW expansion of H station, the supply and installation of nine 132 kV substations and extensive cabling work.

Ethiopia: The installation of a 283 km electric line that will allow Ethiopia to supply power to Djibouti is to be completed ahead of the original schedule, said the Ethiopian Electric Power Corp.

International: The World Economic Forum’s Global Greenhouse Gas Register and the Carbon Disclosure Project have formed a partnership “to improve understanding and knowledge about carbon risks and opportunities.”

Iran: A 35 MW hydro power plant has taken Iran’s electricity generation capacity to 4000 MW. By the end of the country’s fourth Five Year Development Plan this figure will have risen to 12 000 MW.

Russia: AO Mosenergo has implemented a new admission system for electricity consumers that will enable extra investment in generation capacity. Customers will now have to sign an agreement and pay for access to the grid.

Russia: The first of four substations created to boost St. Petersburg’s electricity infrastructure, has been unveiled.The $11m substation will relieve the electricity shortages experienced by local businesses.

Rwanda: The World Bank is to grant the Rwandan government $25m to alleviate the country’s power shortages. The Urgent Electricity Rehabilitation Project will also receive €5m ($6.5m) in additional funding from the Nordic Development Fund.

Serbia: Siemens Power Transmission and Distribution is to create three new 400 kV substations in Serbia and upgrade a fourth to 400 kV specification.

South Africa: Eskom has awarded the $530m contract to recommission a mothballed 1200 MW power station in Grootvlei, near Balfour to a joint venture between Fluor Corporation and Pangaea.

Tajikistan: A cascade of hydropower plants is to be built in Tajikistan. Sangtudin plant 1 will be built by UES of Russia and Sangtudin plant 2 will be built by Iran.

Tunisia: Five high voltage sub-stations and two electricity control centres are to be built by Areva T&D after it was awarded contracts by Tunisia’s national utility.