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PODGORICA (Reuters) - Nine firms and groups have placed bids to help build a new coal-fired unit of up to 300 megawatts at Montenegro's Pljevlja power plant, utility EPCG EPCG.MOT said on Thursday.
Montenegro, which imports more than one third of its power and is working toward European Union membership, aims to boost supply sources by adding the new unit of between 220 MW to 300 MW at a cost of some 300 million euros ($404.78 million).
EPCG, in which Italy's A2A (A2.MI) holds a 43.7 percent stake, had extended the bid deadline until October 31.
"A special panel will evaluate the technical and financial aspects of the bids and produce a shortlist in a month and a half at most," said EPCG board member Roberto Castellano.
Chinese firms China Machinery Engineering Corporation (1829.HK), China Gezhouba Group (600068.SS), China National Engineering Co. CNEEC), as well as TBEA Shenyang Transformer Group and Hubei Electric Power Survey & Design Institute, have placed bids, EPCG said.
Other bidders were Czech engineering group Skoda Praha, owned by power utility CEZ (CEZP.PR), a consortium led by Poland's POL-MOT, which includes local units of Alstom (ALSO.PA) and Foster Wheeler FWLT.O, a consortium headed by Slovakia's Istroenergo, as well as Russia's Rosatom Overseas.
EPCG had earlier said a future partner needed to provide a loan of 75 percent to 85 percent of the project value or propose an option of mutual investment.
The new unit must also achieve at least 38 percent net energy efficiency to meet the most stringent European Union technological and environmental requirements, EPCG said.
The need for new power sources is acute across the Balkans, a region that has lacked investment in capacity for nearly two decades due to wars and political turmoil.
Writing by Maja Zuvela; Editing by Michael Kahn and Patrick Lannin