Turkey expects landmark sale of Hamitabat gas plant
The Turkish electricity sector is expecting the landmark sale of a high-profile gas-fired plant that could in turn speed up the liberalisation process.
Six companies are expected to submit their bids for the 1.2GW Hamitabat plant by 28 February and the result of the bidding round is likely to be announced at the beginning of next month.
The privatisation of Hamitabat, which is currently owned by the state incumbent EUAS, and is one of the most important plants in the country, has been on the table for more than two years. The sale was repeatedly delayed by financing issues and a lack of bidders (see EDEM 16 August 2011).
However, a source at the Privatisation Administration (OIB) told ICIS that there are currently six companies in the run-up. Initially four companies submitted bids when the first round was organised in September.
ICIS understands that one company pulled out, but three more stepped in subsequently. The first four short-listed companies were Turkey's Karkey Karadeniz Elektrik Uretim, Enerjisa Enerji Uretim, Limak Dogalgaz Elektrik Uretim and Saudi Arabia's International Company for Water and Power Projects.
More recently, Turkish companies Eksim, Ozkar and Fernas, which already have some generation in operation or under construction joined the race.
A source close to the privatisation process told ICIS that the sale of Hamitabat may be successful at long last because one of the bidders - Eksim Holding - is also a gas importer that may be interested in using the purchased gas for generation.
"I think that [gas imports] is an important asset to have, but I still think that the sales price tag should be much lower because the plant is very old and inefficient. Personally, I think it should be given for free to incentivise investors who will then have to spend money to upgrade it," he said.
A source at OIB said the administration was optimistic regarding the sales prospect for Hamitabat, following the successful offloading of two power plants in recent weeks.
Last week, the 457MW Kangal thermal plant was sold to two Turkish companies, Konya Seker and Siyahkhalem, for €737m, while the 600MW lignite-fired Seyitomer was sold for $1.7bn earlier this year.
Along with Hamitabat, the plants currently owned by the state-owned incumbent EUAS represent close to 7% of Turkey's total generation capacity and more than 10% of EUAS's.
Turkey plans to privatise 16GW from its state-owned portfolio. Aura Sabadus
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