Two international bidders for Kosovo power network

Two international firms have submitted bids to buy Kosovo’s ailing state-run power distributor as part of the government’s effort to liberalise the energy market and reduce losses, government officials said on Monday.

Bidders for a 100 percent stake in KEDS, a unit of power utility KEK, are Egypt’s El Sewedy Electric, the Arab world biggest listed cable maker, and a consortium of Turkey’s Calik Holding and Limak, they said.

Kosovo’s economy minister Besim Beqaj did not specify when the winner of the tender would be announced but said a decision would depend on the value of the financial offer.

KEDS serves 400,000 customers and operates Kosovo’s entire distribution network, which has faced years of financial losses due to technical problems, theft and poor collection of bills.

Under the privatisation plan the network’s new owner will be responsible for collecting debts totalling 400 million euros ($509 million) accumulated over 13 years. In return, the winning bidder will receive 20 percent from each collected bill.