New York Poised to Close Last Coal-fire Power Plant

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Industry News

Dabhol Lenders to Meet This Week in London

LCG, Oct. 29, 2001--Lenders to Enron Corp.'s Dabhol Power Plant in India have called a meeting in London this coming Saturday to attempt to find a way out of the dispute involving Enron, the Indian government, the government of Maharashtra state and its electric distribution monopoly, and the beleaguered project.

Among issues discussed will be offers by two Indian companies that want to pay Enron -- itself pretty beleaguered -- a cut-rate for its 65 percent interest in Dabhol.

At stake could be much more than just the fate of the $2.9 billion, 2,184 megawatt project, which is India's largest foreign direct investment. AES Corp. of the U.S. has been talking publicly of bailing out of a similar, though smaller, investment in the state of Orissa on India's east coast.

In July, after repeated attempts to get some sort of regulatory in payments for power by the Maharashtra State Electricity Board, Dabhol's sole customer, had failed, Enron said it wanted out of India and would be willing to sell its interest in the project for around $1 billion.

At the same time, work was halted on the 1,444 megawatt second phase of the project, which was 97 percent complete.

The Indian government has not responded to Enron's offer to sell its stake in Dabhol, but two Indian companies, BSES Ltd. and Tata Power Ltd., have shown interest. The Economic Times reported on Friday that Tata Power and BSES are willing to pay $450 million to $600 million for Enron's 65 percent and the 10 percent each owned by General Electric Co. and Bechtel Enterprises.

The companies say the low price would allow it to reduce power prices to a level more palatable to the MSEB.

Enron responded by saying it would not accept anything less than $1 billion, the Economic Times said.

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