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IFC Helps Find Investors for Albania’s Ashta Hydropower Plant


In Sofia:
Georgi Petrov
Phone: +359 2 9697 274
E-mail: gpetrov@ifc.org

In Belgrade:
Slobodan Brkic
Phone: +381 11 3023 750
E-mail: sbrkic@ifc.org

Tirana, Albania, September 30, 2008—The government of Albania and Verbund, Austria’s largest electricity company, today signed a concession agreement to develop Ashta Hydropower, a new plant that will contribute to Albania’s power generation capacity, helping reduce dependence on imports and decrease blackouts. IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, advised the government on structuring and implementing the public-private partnership project.

Genc Ruli, Albania’s Minister of Economy, Trade, and Energy, and Christian Kern, a member of Verbund’s Managing Board, signed the agreement, which covers the financing, construction, and operation of the hydropower plant.

In July 2008, Verbund was selected as the project’s winning bidder over a consortium led by Belgium’s Electrabel. The plant will be constructed over 40 months and have an installed capacity of 48.2 megawatts. The total investment amount is estimated at more than €160 million.

Sali Berisha, Prime Minister of Albania, said that “the bidding process was conducted according to international best practice, with consideration for the ecological and social implications associated with the project. By selecting Verbund, we are bringing the latest technology and best environmental practices for the benefit of the Albanian people.”

Ruli said, “We are very satisfied with our cooperation with IFC, and Albania welcomes the concession’s design-build-operate-transfer model. Introducing public-private partnerships will greatly benefit the economy.”

Shahbaz Mavaddat, IFC Director for Southern Europe and Central Asia, said, “The Ashta energy project is part of a broader cooperation between IFC and the Albanian government. It builds on our previous work helping the government draft the new concession law and establish a public-private partnership unit. This concession agreement with Verbund is a pivotal step in improving the economic and social well-being of Albania and its citizens. It has been a pleasure working with the government.”

This effort was led by IFC’s Infrastructure Advisory Services for Southeast Europe, which helps public authorities introduce private-sector participation in infrastructure services in the region. The program is jointly funded by the governments of Austria, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, Switzerland, and the United States.

About IFC
IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, creates opportunity for people to escape poverty and improve their lives. We foster sustainable economic growth in developing countries by supporting private sector development, mobilizing private capital, and providing advisory and risk mitigation services to businesses and governments. Our new investments totaled $16.2 billion in fiscal 2008, a 34 percent increase over the previous year. For more information, visit www.ifc.org.

About Verbund
Verbund (Österreichische Elektrizitätswirtschafts-AG), Austria’s largest electricity company, is one of the leading hydropower groups in Europe and one of the most profitable energy utilities in the region. It is also Austria’s largest electricity transporter and a driving force for clean energy in Europe. The company owns 107 hydropower plants and nine thermal power plants. For more information, visit www.verbund.at.