Belgian energy group Tractebel is seeking to add to its interests in Chile by offering to buy Edelnor from Mirant Corporation of the US. The bid by Tractebel’s Chilean subsidiary Electroandina, would strengthen its hold in the northern copper mining belt.

Edelnor is a partially integrated electric utility engaged in the generation, transmission and sale of electricity in northern Chile. Mirant has been trying to sell its 82.3 per cent interest since December 1998. If successful, it will complete Mirant’s withdrawal from Chile following write-offs totalling $300 million in the region.

Electroandina is the largest generating company in Northern Chile with 41 per cent of the market share. It has offered a nominal $1 for Mirant’s shareholding and will assume 32.5 per cent of the company’s $340 000 loan position.

Edelnor owns generating facilities with a total capacity of 538 MW and operates a further 28 MW under a lease arrangement. Power is sold into the Sistema Interconnectado del Norte Grande, an interconnected power grid that feeds the region’s industrial copper mining companies – Chile’s largest export. It also supplies five distribution companies whose customers are the 740 000 inhabitants of the region as well as small industrial and commercial customers.

Edelnor also has a 21 per cent interest in the 661 mile long Nor Andino natural gas pipeline. This transports natural gas from Argentina to Northern Chile. Tractebel has a US dollar-indexed, substantially “take-or-pay” agreement with Nor Andino to supply two 412 MW gas-fired power plants.

Energy analysts are reported to be positive about the transaction from Electroandina’s standpoint, but have expressed the view that an improvement in terms may be required if the bid is to succeed.

J.P. Morgan is acting as dealer-manager for the tender offer, which expires on August 7th, 2001.