Turkish steelmaker Kurum tops bids for Albania hydro plants

TIRANA Fri Dec 21, 2012 12:24pm EST

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TIRANA Dec 21 (Reuters) - Turkish steelmaker Kurum made the highest bid on Friday to buy four small but profitable and newly-renovated hydro power plants from Albania, which is trying to sell them for the fourth time.

Kurum International offered 52 million euros ($68.51 million) for the Bistrica 1 and Bistrica 2 plants in southern Albania and 57.5 million euros ($75.75 million) to buy the Ulez and Shkopet plants in lower northern Albania on the Mat River.

Its electric arc furnaces make Kurum one of the biggest consumers of electricity in the Balkan nation. Power shortages in the last decade have forced it to seek an independent supply.

Albania was forced to cancel the tender four times before its successful end on Friday after the firms withdrew in September because they were worried about the relationship with monopoly power producer KESH.

The would-be-buyers asked the authorities to improve the relationship they would have with cash-strapped state-owned KESH, to which they would be selling power. ($1 = 0.7590 euros) (Reporting By Benet Koleka; Editing by Helen Massy-Beresford)

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