ECONOMY

In Brief

Turkey gives go-ahead to privatize electricity distribution grid ANKARA (Reuters) – Turkey’s Energy Market Regulatory Authority (EPDK) has given the go-ahead for the privatization of the country’s 20 electricity distribution grids by approving the tariff structure, an EPDK official said yesterday. Approval of the electricity tariffs is the final step before Turkey can invite tenders to auction the distribution grids as part of a World Bank-supported plan to liberalize its electricity market. The EPDK approved license applications for the grids last month. The government aims to liberalize the electricity market through the sale of distribution grids and by switching to a system of regional tariffs. Tariffs take into account the investment required in the 20 grids over the next five years, volumes of leakage and theft, payments for transfer of operational rights, revenues and retail tariffs. The tenders, to be held for a group of grids rather than for each network to achieve economies of scale and more efficient operation, have been delayed since March 2005 due to slow progress on preparing the appropriate legal infrastructure. Eleven bidders for Varna power plant SOFIA (Reuters) – Eleven companies have bought tender documents to bid for a heating power plant in Bulgaria’s Black Sea city of Varna, the privatization agency announced yesterday. Bulgaria is selling its power and heating utilities in an attempt to improve the public services in the country, which hopes to join the European Union next year and liberalize its energy market. France’s Dalkia, a unit of Veolia Environment, along with Austrian EVN, Czech CEZ, Germany’s E.ON and its local unit, and UK-based Ener-G have expressed initial interest in buying the utility. Other prospective bidders include Bulgarian Overgaz, 50-percent controlled by Russia’s Gazprom and local firms Brickel, Bulgarian Energy Group, Pravets Heating Utility and Toploenergo Bulgaria. The bidders will be short-listed by September 25 and will be invited to file offers to buy 100 percent of the utility on October 23, the selloff agency said in a statement. The Varna heating utility, which uses gas, serves 14,000 households and businesses. It registered capital is 4 million levs ($2.63 million) and its sales last year stood at 7.4 million levs. Bulgaria plans to sell heating utilities in the central town of Plovdiv and the Danube River city of Rousse. Property deal Property developer Babis Vovos yesterday announced a deal with firms ETMA and Hellatex to buy a 10-hectare plot of land marked for commercial development in western Athens. Vovos paid 50 million euros.