Austria's Alpine Bau withdraws from Bulgarian hydro-power project

Austria's Alpine Bau withdraws from Bulgarian hydro-power project

Austrian construction company Alpine Bau withdrew from the consortium that was slated to buy a 30 per cent stake in a Bulgarian 500 million euro hydro-power plant project, its partner in the consortium, Austrian utility company EVN, said in a statement.EVN, which owns the power distribution utility in southeastern Bulgaria, has said that it would take over Alpine Bau's commitments to the project and would not seek another partner for the acquisition of the 30 per cent stake in the Gorna Arda project from Turkey's CCG Insaat.The Austrian consortium was in talks to buy the stake, conditional on CCG withdrawing its claims, submitted to an international arbitration court, for 75 million euro in damages against the Bulgarian state.EVN said that it had notified Bulgarian officials of the change. Bulgaria's state-owned power transmission and electricity trading company NEK owns the remaining 70 per cent in the project.The project envisions the construction of three hydropower stations, with a combined installed power of 170MW, and renovate existing dams on the Gorna Arda river near the border with Turkey.The plans, dating back to 1997 but hampered, among other reasons, by the legal dispute with CCG, part of Ceylan group, were resurrected in September 2009, when Bulgaria's Cabinet backed the Austrian consortium to buy CCG's minority stake.EVN is keen on developing the Gorna Arda hydro-power array to increase its limited power generation capacity in Bulgaria and reduce reliance on electricity-buying contracts.

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