January 9, 2013 / 7:57 PM / in 5 years

Five consortiums bid for $5 bln Argentine power plant contract

* Bidders must provide half the project’s finance

* Two hydroelectric plants to be built in Patagonia

BUENOS AIRES, Jan 9 (Reuters) - Five consortiums including companies from Brazil, China, South Korea, Spain and France have presented bids to build two hydroelectric power stations in southern Argentina requiring an investment of $5 billion, the government said on Wednesday.

The two plants will be built on the Santa Cruz in Patagonia and will have a power-generation capacity of 1,740 megawatts, almost 6 percent of the South American country’s current production capacity.

Bidders include China’s Sinohydro Corp and China Gezhouba Group Corp, Brazil’s Odebrecht and OAS, Alstom of France, South Korea’s Hyundai Engineering and Construction and Spain’s Isolux Corsan, Argentina’s planning ministry said.

Fourteen Argentine companies are also involved in the joint venture proposals. The winner of the contract will be announced in about three months.

Planning Minister Julio De Vido said the successful consortium will have to provide at least half of the project’s financing.

“That means that all these offers include a financing proposal for Argentina of $2.5 billion,” he told a news conference.

Argentina remains virtually locked out of global credit markets more than a decade since it staged the biggest sovereign debt default in history.

The government hopes building work on the power plants -- one of which will be named after late former President Nestor Kirchner -- will start in the second half of the year and be finished in five-and-a-half years.

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