* Bolivia wants 60-70 percent stake in power generators
* State currently holds 50 percent share
* Government negotiating takeover with owners
By Eduardo Garcia
LA PAZ, Oct 16 Bolivia's leftist government
aims to secure a controlling stake in three power generation
companies before the end of the month, a senior energy official
was quoted as saying on Friday.
President Evo Morales, a close ally of Venezuelan President
Hugo Chavez, nationalized the Andean nation's key natural gas
industry soon after taking office in 2006 and has since seized
control of several utility and commodities-related companies.
A handful of foreign firms have launched legal actions over
the compensation they were offered for the takeover of their
assets by Morales, who is striving to step up state control of
Deputy Electricity Minister Miguel Yague told state news
agency ABI the government aimed to secure a 60 to 70 percent
stake in three power generation companies, two of which are
controlled by foreign investors.
"I think we're going to wrap up the negotiations before the
end of the month. What we're doing is complying with the
National Development Plan, which says we have to retake control
of the companies that were once owned by the state," he was
quoted as saying by the news agency.
The country's biggest power generators are Corani,
Guaracachi and Valle Hermoso. They emerged in the 1990s
following the privatization of the state National Electricity
Company (ENDE) and account for about half of Bolivia's
Corani is 50-percent owned by Inversiones Econergy Bolivia
S.A., a subsidiary of France's GDF Suez GDFZY.PK GSZ.PA.
Guaracachi is 50-percent owned by Britain's Rurelec PLC
(RUR.L), while Valle Hermoso is run by a Bolivian consortium
called the Bolivian Generating Group.
In each of the three firms, half the shares are held by
private investors with the rest held by the state.
(Editing by Lisa Shumaker and Helen Popper)