PPC lands Bobov Dol

SOFIA (Reuters) – Bulgaria’s privatization agency said yesterday that it has picked Greece’s Public Power Corp (PPC) to buy 100 percent of the Bobov Dol thermal power plant in a 105.2-million-euro deal. PPC placed the best bid for the 630-megawatt plant last April, but the previous government scrapped the process, saying the price was too low. PPC appealed and the court gave a final green light for the sale last month. «Following the decision of the court that unblocked the deal, we have picked PPC as winner in the tender and are launching talks on the sale,» said privatization agency Executive Director Todor Nikolov. He said the two sides will have 70 days to negotiate details before finalizing the deal. The Greek utility had offered to pay the Balkan country 71 million euros and put another 34.2 million in a capital increase for the coal-fired plant. The only other bid, by Italy’s Enel, was for just 149,000 euros in both cash and investment. Nikolov said he would not aim to renegotiate the price, but rather seek guarantees that PPC buy local coal for the plant and make the investment it had pledged, despite the one-year delay in the deal. «I do not think it is realistic to achieve a higher price. It is more important to stress investment, as the one-year delay can be used as a motive to decrease its size,» he said. The sale has sparked controversy in the EU-aspirant country, as the 2,700 miners supplying the plant fear heavy layoffs since PPC will only be obliged to buy local coal for a limited time.