Bloomberg News

Czech Reactor Builders Bid for Bulgaria's Belene Plant Contract

February 01, 2006

A joint venture among Czech engineering companies, including a unit of power utility CEZ AS, filed a bid to build two reactors at Bulgaria's Belene nuclear plants, the companies said in an e-mailed press release.

The venture, which placed the offer today, said winning the contract would be ``the biggest investment project of the Czech Republic abroad since the country's creation'' in 1992. The project is worth ``billions of euros,'' the statement said.

The group comprises CEZ engineering unit Skoda Praha AS, UJV Rez AS and Skoda JS AS, a reactor builder now owned by OAO Gazprom through another subsidiary. The companies said they expect Bulgaria to evaluate the bid by May at the latest. The contract with the winner of the competition could be signed in December, they said.

Skoda and parts of its former group are vying to win contracts in the Balkans because they had been building power plants in the region for more than half a century. Skoda split into individual engineering companies in the past decade and is not related to carmaker Skoda Auto AS.

It has already built one 1,000-megawatt reactor for the Belene plant. The plant is located about 250 kilometers (150 miles) northeast of the Bulgarian capital, Sofia.

Another bidder for the contract may be Russia's Atomstroyexport JSC, which teamed up with Framatome ANP, a venture of France's Areva and Germany's Siemens AG (SIE), Reuters Plc reported today, citing no one.

To contact the reporter on this story: Marek Miler at m.miler@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Tim Coulter at tcoulter@bloomberg.net


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