INDEPENDENT ENERGY Briefs

AES takes control of Nigen

US developer, AES Corporation announced that a subsidiary has acquired 100 per cent of Tractebel Power Ltd (TPL) from Tractebel S.A.

TPL owns a 46 per cent interest in Nigen Ltd, which owns the 520MW Kilroot and 120MW Belfast West power stations in Northern Ireland.

The purchase price for the shares is approximately $67m together with an obligation to repay existing debt of $15m. Nigen provides about 32 per cent of Northern Ireland’s electricity. With this transaction, AES owns approximately 92 per cent of Nigen’s common stock.

Ann Murtlow, Managing Director of AES Horizons Ltd, said: “We are pleased to have gained sole control of Nigen, which was AES’s first international acquisition.”

The company’s generating assets include interests in 125 facilities totaling over 44 GW of capacity.

Moody’s rates Orion paper

Moody’s Investors Service assigned a Ba3 rating to $400m in senior unsecured notes, due 2010, issued by Orion Power Holdings Inc.

USA-based Orion is owned by Goldman Sachs & Co., Constellation Enterprises (a Baltimore Gas & Electric affiliate), Mitsubishi Corp. and Tokyo Electric Power Co. Orion Power recently acquired 2613 MW of generating assets in the Northeastern United States from Niagara Mohawk Power Corp., Consolidated Edison and US Generating Co. Orion expects to acquire another 2614 MW soon from Duquesne Light Co.

The acquisitions were financed with a $700m bank loan and equity funds, and the Duquesne acquisition is expected to be financed from the notes being issued along with a $1.1bn bank loan and equity funds. The company is expected to refinance both bank loans within the year through a bond financing for a combined operating company. Orion plans to acquire additional assets to create a permanent corporate generating company.

Moody’s noted the merchant market risks of Orion’s assets, as well as their age. “Orion’s coal-fired assets being purchased from Duquesne may be subject to greater-than-budgeted environmental expenditures if environmental regulations are stricter than expected,” Moody’s said.

Ogden departs Argentine airport business

As part of its effort to sell off non-core businesses and concentrate on the energy industry, Ogden Corp. of New Jersey completed a ‘usufruct and option’ arrangement with its Argentine partner, Corporacion America Sudamericana SA.

Under the agreement, Ogden received $27.5 million and expects to receive an additional $2.5 million at a later date. In return, the principal owner of Aeropuertos Argentina 2000 which manages two airports in Buenos Aires and other Argentine cities receives the right to control Ogden’s shares in the company and eventually to purchase them.

Ogden also sold its interest in the Dominican Republic airport privatization for about $3 million, avoiding capital commitments of $16.6 million.

EPIC first in Eastern Europe closings

For the second year in a row, Privatization International has ranked European Privatization & Investment Corp. (EPIC) first in the number of closed deals in Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union. In 1999, EPIC closed 24 deals valued at $1.213bn.

As shown in the table, in terms of total mandates in the region, EPIC was again ranked number one with 51 mandates. It placed ahead of its closest competitor, Pricewaterhouse-Coopers, which came in second with 34 mandates.

Promoting it into the global picture, EPIC ranked fourth worldwide by number of completed deals.

Holding top positions in the CEE league tables for the last several years, EPIC was rated as number one in 1998 and 1999 by number of closed deals confirming its excellent deal-closing track record in the Central and Eastern European region energy and telecoms sectors.

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