The Armenian government confirmed on Thursday that it is negotiating with a U.S. company on the possible sale of three large hydroelectric stations that are a major component of Armenia’s energy sector.
Energy and Natural Resources Minister Armen Movsisian claimed at the same time that the government has not yet made a final decision to privatize the cascade of plants on the Vorotan river. He said that companies from Russia and Europe are also showing interest in the facility.
The New York-based company ContourGlobal announced on Wednesday that it is in “advanced” takeover talks with the government and expects them to yield an agreement. The company said it is ready to pay a “very significant” price for the Vorotan Complex.
“They are showing an interest. They are trying to familiarize themselves and have a good idea,” Movsisian told reporters, commenting on the announcement. “If they make a good proposal we will go to the National Assembly,” he said.
The Vorotan plants are not included on an official list of state assets subject to privatization. The parliament’s consent is therefore necessary for their sell-off.
Movsisian refused to comment on the government’s asking price for one of the few remaining power-generating facilities owned by the Armenian state. He noted only that a prospective buyer would have to pledge up to $200 million in capital investments which he said are need for modernizing them.
The government already borrowed 51 million euros ($66 million) from the German development bank KfW in 2010 to refurbish the plants built in the 1970s and 1980s.
The energy minister also reiterated that Yerevan has not offered Russia’s Gazprom conglomerate to take over the Vorotan cascade in return for a 30 percent reduction in the price of natural gas supplied to Armenia.