The Armenian government approved a new timetable for the privatization of national electricity distribution companies on Thursday, one month after the failure of a previous bidding for a controlling stake in the loss-making utilities. Ministers decided to call a new international tender for the networks, setting early November as the tentative deadline for its completion.
The came the day after the World Bank, a key driving force behind the
privatization effort, approved a new important loan for Armenia, partly linked to the sell-off. A senior bank official repeated on Thursday that the last $20 million installment of the $50 million Structural Adjustment Credit (SAC-IV) will be released only after the authorities select private owners of the four electricity companies.
The loan was called into question in late April when none of two Western firms shortlisted for the final phase of the bidding. The World Bank agreed to unconditionally release most of the SAC-IV funds after the government pledged to complete the protracted privatization process before the end of the year.
Under the new schedule approved by the cabinet, new bids for the power utilities will be officially disclosed in October.