GMR looking for Upper Karnali equity partner

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    KATHMANDU, JAN 02 –

    Upper Karnali HEP
    Karnali River

    GMR Energy Limited, the energy arm of GMR Group of India, is searching for an equity partner for the development of Upper Karnali Hydropower Project.
    Amid Indian media reports that the company is planning to make its exit from the 900MW project and is currently assessing valuation of its Nepal assets, the Investment Board Nepal (IBN) said that GMR had informed the board that it is looking for a partner. According to the IBN, it is unaware of the company’s exit plan from Upper Karnali.
    The company recently had informed the IBN about its plan of partnering with the France-based power company EDF for the project. “We were informed that the company was bringing the France-based energy company as its equity partner. However, we are not informed about its plan of selling its entire assets,” said senior official of the board.
    Moneycontrol.com, online portal of Indian business news channel, CNBC TV 18, on Wednesday had reported that GMR may exit part of its Nepal assets. “The project that they are currently looking at pulling out is Upper Karnali project,” it reported.
    GMR, however, has refuted the media reports. Issuing a press statement, it stated that the appearance of news on “our” exist from the Upper Karnali project is unfounded. “The news is the matter of speculation and the company does not wish to comment on such speculation,” it said in a press statement. The Post’s attempt to contact GMR official Rajeev Mishra went in vain as repeated phone calls went unanswered.
    GMR has been facing difficulty for developing Upper Karnali. Its site office was torched and vandalised in May, 2011 by a group of UCPN (Maoist) activists, in which office buildings were completely destroyed. Of late, the CPN (Maoist) has stood against the project. On the other hand, there has not been much progress on a power development agreement (PDA).
    GMR has recently signed a Joint Development Agreement with the International Finance Corporation, a member of the World Bank Group, to jointly develop the 600MW Upper Marsyangdi-II Hydropower Project. Both Karnali and Upper-Marsyangdi projects are under the IBN’s purview.

    Source : The Kathmandu Post