ECONOMY

PPC starts expansion in the Balkans

Public Power Corporation (PPC) officials are in Bulgaria to meet the managers of the electricity-producing stations of Bobov Dol and Varna that are being privatized, as part of the corporation’s push to expand its operations in the Balkans. PPC has also selected HSBC bank for financial monitoring and PricewaterhouseCoopers for looking at the tax side, while the task of monitoring the legal elements has been allocated to a consortium of Greek and Bulgarian law firms. The Greek power company has expressed an interest in purchasing the two stations with a total installed capacity of approximately 1,900 megawatts, participating in the first phase of the tender proclaimed by Bulgaria’s Economy Ministry. Access to data is expected to begin in the next few days, while corporation officials have had their first contacts with the country’s competent bodies. The first visits to the stations began last week, to be followed by visits to the country’s Regulatory Authority for Energy, the System Administrator and the competent agencies of the Economy Ministry to collect information and data about the stations to be privatized. In this early phase of the tender, PPC’s rivals include nearly all big power companies in Europe, but PPC does not rule out cooperation with some of them in the final stage. According to reports, such proposals have already been made to the corporation by a company that is currently active in Bulgaria’s electricity market. Entry into the final stage of the tender will be determined by the outcome of checks on the two companies’ economic and tax situation. In the meantime, and along the lines of PPC’s outward-looking strategy, the company is watching all privatization projects in the production and distribution domains in the Balkans. A special team has been set up to monitor the markets of the Balkan countries. Romania, the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) and Serbia and Montenegro are the next markets where PPC is expected to seek a share with the announcement of privatization programs.