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Electrabel, RWE bid for stake in Bulgaria nuke plant

Germany’s RWE AG and Belgian energy company Electrabel, owned by France’s Suez, filed binding bids on Monday for a 49% stake in Bulgaria’s planned Belene nuclear power plant.

“Both companies have filed their offers. We will now open them, study them and start negotiations,” said Hristina Stoyanova, spokeswoman for Bulgarian power utility NEK, which handles the project. She declined to say when a winner for the 2,000 megawatt plant would be chosen.

The Socialist-led government, whose mandate expires next year, has said it planned to wrap up the deal before the end of this year. NEK, which will keep 51% in the new plant on the Danube river, has contracted BNP Paribas to structure the financing for Belene. It has signed a €4 billion deal with Russia’s Atomstroyexport, along with France’s Areva and Germany’s Siemens, to build two 1,000 megawatt reactors, which are expected to come online in 2013 and 2014.

The European Union newcomer is building the new nuclear power capacity to restore its position of a leading power exporter in southeast Europe, after it had agreed to close two 440 megawatt reactors under its EU accession treaty. (Reuters)