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Albania sells power plant for €1

Albania has sold its only thermal power plant for just €1 to the Greek-based consortium of Atermon Sa and Roder & Blackwell Consulting – reports BalkanInsight.

The oil-fired power station, located in the city of Fier, in south-central Albania, was decommissioned in 2007, because of the severe pollution caused by its outdated communist-era Soviet and Czechoslovak technology. Under the deal, signed on Wednesday, the Greek-based consortium is to invest €100 million in the 150 megawatt plant, which should start generating electricity with cleaner technology in early 2009. The “€1 initiative” makes publicly-owned land and assets available to investors for a token price, in exchange for the promise of substantial capital investment. The scheme is open to both foreign and domestic investors.

Prime Minister Sali Berisha’s center-right government is also planning a big round of privatization in 2008, which will spell the end of public ownership of the last major assets currently controlled by the state. The distribution branch of Albania’s power utility KESH, the insurance company INSIG, and the only oil refinery in the country ARMO, will all be sold off later this year. The government’s sweeping privatization plans follow the introduction of a flat-rate taxation system at the exceptionally low rate of 10% at the beginning of the year. (BalkanInsight)