Italian utility Enel and Russian power grid monopoly RAO EES may launch a joint bid for a Bulgarian nuclear plant in Belene, Dow Jones quoted Italian daily La Repubblica as saying Friday in an unsourced report.
Enel and RAO are not the only strategic European investors eyeing Belene which goes to show that the project is attractive, said Yordan Georgiev from the Bulgarian economy ministry. He said the ministry has received no official communications regarding the talks between Enel and RAO.
Two international consortiums have filed non-binding offers to build a new nuclear power plant worth around 2.5 bln euro in Bulgaria, state power utility NETC was quoted as saying by news agency Reuters on Monday, June 27.
The Bulgarian government is moving forward with the project for a 2,000MW plant in the Danube-river town of Belene. The undertaking will cost between 1.5 bln and 4 bln euro.
The energy ministry expects to receive by mid-December offers from the tie-up between Framatome ANP and Russia's AtomStroyExport and the consortium comprised of Czech company Skoda Praha, Citibank, Unicredito and the Czech Komercni Banka which have notified their interest in the project.
The first reactor is expected to become operational in 2011 and the second in 2016.
In a related development, news agency Reuters reported RAO as saying last Friday it planned to sell a 49% in Bulgaria's Varna power plant to Enel.
A RAO spokeswoman told Reuters a deal had already been struck for Enel to acquire the stake once the Russian company's 579 mln euro ($702 mln) purchase of Bulgaria's second-largest power station is completed.
'If we buy this station, then Enel was planning to become owner of a 49 percent stake. There is such an agreement,' the spokeswoman told Reuters.
Enel declined to comment on the matter. Bulgaria's privatisation agency said on Wednesday it would move to close the sale after RAO beat rival bidders for Varna, which included Enel, Czech CEZ and the Greek Public Power Corp.
The coal-fired Varna power station has a capacity of 1,260MW.