| DUBAI, March 22
DUBAI, March 22 Riyadh-based ACWA Power said it
expects the first of four power generation companies owned by
Saudi Electricity Co (SEC) will be offered to the
market by the year-end, as the kingdom presses ahead with its
overhaul of the state sector.
The world's largest oil exporter plans to split up the
state-controlled utility into separate companies that would be
offered either to local citizens through offers on the stock
market, or to local or international corporate partners.
Chief Executive Paddy Padmanathan told Reuters that
privately-held ACWA Power is still keen to buy assets from SEC
after the kingdom completes the restructuring the firm.
"We know that consultants have been appointed and we are
very confident that the first bundle will come out, at least the
request for qualification, before the end of this year,"
Padmanathan said in an interview in Dubai on Tuesday.
Preparations to sell the plants are complex due to their
different fuel mixes, locations, staffing, and loan agreements
and export financing arrangements.
The revamp was put under review last year, sources told
Reuters, which could result in the original plan being retained
or a new restructuring scheme put in place.
"The more clarity they give to the private sector about the
bundles, the better responses they are going to get, the more
realistic it is going to be valued."
The plan is part of wider reforms to the Saudi energy sector
in which private companies would have to play a key role in
"We will be buying. This is our domestic market and we are
well positioned," Padmanathan said. "The biggest growth for us
is going to be Saudi Arabia because of all the privatisation."
The government implemented new energy prices last year as it
reviewed subsidies to cut domestic consumption and reduce waste.
"At the moment, 60 percent to 70 percent of electricity
consumption is being used to support air conditioning in Saudi
The Saudi Energy Ministry launched last month the first
tenders to generate power from renewables as it diversifies its
energy mix by cutting the use of oil in power and water plants.
ACWA will be participating in the tenders, which include 300
MW of solar plant and 400 MW of wind. Padmanathan said he
expects to submit a proposal in the next few weeks.
ACWA describes itself as an investor, developer, co-owner
and operator of a portfolio of plants in Europe, Asia and Africa
that generate 18 gigawatts of power and produce 2.5 million
cubic metres of desalinated water a day.
(Editing by Reem Shamseddine and Louise Heavens)