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Tuesday, April 06, 2010

Ecuador Seeks Investors to Fund Hydro Plant

QUITO – Ecuador’s economic policy coordinator said Tuesday that after a failed bid to secure a Chinese loan for a large hydroelectric project the government is now looking elsewhere for financing.

Diego Borja said the government “is working with another group of investors,” adding that the methods of financing have changed and that funding does not have to come from “the multilateral lending agencies or from a single government.”

In an interview with Canal Uno, Borja said that nowadays “companies are formed, international consortiums with Indian, English, Chinese, (South) Korean capital, and a group of investors jointly makes a proposal.”

Ecuador is looking to foreign financing to cover 85 percent of the cost of the $1.98 billion Coca-Codo-Sinclair hydroelectric power station, which would be the country’s largest.

A contract for the 1,500 MW plant had been awarded to Chinese firm Sinohydro, but the deal was contingent on successful negotiation of a financing deal with the Export-Import Bank of China and those talks were suspended last week.

Borja said among the snags in the negotiations was the timeframe proposed by the Chinese negotiators, which was “much longer than that of Ecuador, which can’t wait three years to do this project.”

“Fortunately, as soon as that financing fell through, that same day ... we were in talks” with other investors, the minister said, without providing further details. EFE

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