Bulgaria Picks HSBC for Belene Nuclear Plant Consultant

Business » ENERGY | November 16, 2010, Tuesday // 14:24
Bulgaria: Bulgaria Picks HSBC for Belene Nuclear Plant Consultant Bulgaria is seeking a strategic European investor in Belene nuclear plant. RWE AG, Germany’s second-largest utility, walked out of the project last autumn over funding problems. Photo by EPA/ BGNES

The Bulgarian Energy Holding has picked HSBC, one of UK's biggest banks, for a consultant to help it decide how to proceed and attract new investors for the planned Belene nuclear power plant, the energy minister said.

Minister Traicho Traikov specified that the winner was selected on Monday in a heated competition with Rothschild, but refused to disclose the price of the deal.

Six candidates submitted at the end of March documents to bid in the tender opened by the Bulgarian Energy Holding for Belene consultant - HSBC, Societe Generale, KPMG in a consortium with McGuire, Rothschild, Argil, and Ernst & Young.

Bulgaria suspended the construction of its second nuclear power plant until it finds a new investor and funds to complete the project at Belene, on the Danube, 180 kilometres northeast of the capital Sofia.

The country's center-right government has courted Romania and Serbia as it angles for a new chief investor in its second nuclear power plant Belene to replace the German energy company RWE, which withdrew last autumn.

Bulgaria's government has said it  will pay Russia for the production of the first unit at Belene nuclear power plant only after it finds a strategic investor.

Bulgaria has to pay an installment of EUR 280 M in addition to EUR 300 M already paid.

The plant was originally to be built by Russian company Atomstroyexport for EUR 4 B. The firm had signed a contract with the previous, Socialist-led government, swept from power by Borisov's conservative GERB party swept in last year's July elections.

Bulgaria’s government initially said it aims to limit the cost of the Belene nuclear plant being built by Russia’s ZAO Atomstroyexport to EUR 7 B, but later said that price was too high.

Bulgaria and Russia were expected to shake hands on the Belene Nuclear Plant project Saturday, November 13, when a delegation headed by Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin arrived in Sofia in order to sign a series of crucial energy agreements with his Bulgarian counterpart Boyko Borisov. However, the focus of Putin's visit turned out to be mainly on another project – the South Stream gas pipeline.

While refusing to reveal the price that Russia's state nuclear energy corporation Rosatom and its subsidiary Atomstroyexport offered to Bulgaria for Belene, Putin said on this occasion that he expected that Bulgaria and Russia will sign an agreement for equipment for the Nuclear Power Plant by the end of 2010.

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Tags: Atomstroyexport, RWE, Rothschild, Bulgarian Energy Holding, Traicho Traikov, Putin, Borisov, Boyko Borisov, Prime Minister, Russia, Vladimir Putin, Gazprom, Viktor Zubkov, Burgas-Alexandroupolis, Burgas Alexandroupolis Oil Pipeline, pipeline, South stream, gas transit pipeline, Belene NPP, gas supplies, Belene, HSBC
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