Odebrecht-led consortium to build Baba hydro project

Friday, March 3, 2006

Consortium Hidroenergético del Litoral (CHL), led by Brazil's Odebrecht, has won a tender to build Ecuador's Baba multipurpose hydro project in Guayas province, local press reported.

The CHL consortium bid US$208mn in mid-2005, followed by Italian company Impregilo, which bid US$268mn. The highest bidder was Grupo Generador Baba, led by Argentine company Techint, which came in at US$321mn.

The contract should be signed by end-March or early April pending government approval, papers reported.

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Odebrecht has a 14.5% stake in the CHL consortium, which also comprises Papelera Nacional with 28%, Wong group with 24%, Cartopel with 16.5%, Nirsa with 14% and Ipac with 2%.

Each of the companies must private financing corresponding to their stake in the consortium and will benefit from the distribution of energy in the same proportion, papers reported.

The companies could issue debt up to US$90mn partially to finance the project.

The consortium, which includes paper and packaging companies, aims to produce their own power to reduce costs and enable it to compete in the domestic and international market, papers reported.

CHL plans to develop the project in 24 months.

The winning bidder will partner with local company Hidropacífico, which is in charge of building and operating the Baba project for 35 years.

The project entails building a reservoir, a dam, a 40-50MW powerhouse and an irrigation system as well as channeling water to the nearby state-owned 213MW Marcel Laniado de Wind hydro plant.