Austrians to build Bosnian power plants

SARAJEVO (AFP) – The Muslim-Croat half of the Bosnian government has picked Austrian consortium APET as a partner to build four hydroelectric power plants, officials said yesterday. «The Austrian APET consortium has been chosen as a strategic partner,» Stipe Buljan of the energy ministry said. The government expects to begin negotiations immediately and to sign the contract with the group by the end of the year. A trade adviser to the Austrian embassy here, Robert Luck, referring to price bids for the contract, told reporters that «APET offered 800 million euros…for preparations, equipment and participation in the building of the four plants.» APET comprises several big companies among which are Alstom, Parr and Alpine Mayreder. Last month Bosnia called for bids for building four hydro and four thermo power plants. The plants are expected to produce almost 2,000 megawatts. Details of the investment and future ownership relations have yet to be finalized. However, the government has said that it must own at least 90 percent of the shares. An investor would have rights to the electricity for a set period. The decision about partners for the power plants had been postponed for 90 days because the government needed more time to review the bids, Buljan said. Bidders include APET, ENBW of Germany and Czech CEZ, he added.