Spanish gas distributor Gas Natural SDG has signed a deal with bankrupt US company Enron to buy its 50% stake in Puerto Rico's Ecoelectrica combined-cycle gas generation plant and liquefied natural gas (LNG) regasification plant for US$130mn, Gas Natural said in a statement Monday.
Ecoelectrica comprises a 540MW plant and a 115,000 cubic meter capacity LNG regasification plant in the south of Puerto Rico. The plant has a 20-year power purchase agreement (PPA) with local power utility Prepa, and accounts for around 20% of Puerto Rico's present power generation, a percentage that according to the statement could rise to 40% in the next 10 years.
US company Edison International (NYSE: EIX) owns the other 50% in Ecoelectrica through its Edison Mission Energy unit.
Gas Natural said the deal was an important step in its policy of overseas expansion, which has already seen it reach 3.9 million clients in Latin America.
In a shareholders' meeting Monday, the company said it plans to invest 850mn euros (today US$981mn) in Latin American expansion, especially in Mexico and Brazil, in 2003-2007, increasing the number of clients to 5.7 million by 2005. By the same date, it plans to increase sales to 214,000GWh from 126,000GWh in 2002.
Latin American operations contributed 12% of Gas Natural SDG's 1.2bn euro gross operating profit in 2002, and the company aims to increase this to 19% of the anticipated 2.2bn gross operating profit in 2007.