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Austria utility buys stake in Turkish hydro generator

Verbund, Austria's biggest utility, will enter the fast-growing Turkish electricity market by investing US$326.6 million in a power production joint venture with Sabanci Group.

Verbund said March 15 it will buy a stake in power firm EnerjiSA from Sabanci and purchase new shares issued in a capital increase at EnerjiSA, bringing its total stake to 49.99 percent and providing EnerjiSA with US$242.2 million in fresh funds.

EnerjiSA will use the funds to acquire further options to operate hydropower plants and implement planned electricity generation projects, Verbund said.

EnerjiSA holds hydropower generation licenses for 268 MW. It also operates gas power plants totaling 370 MW and a coal facility of 450 MW, Verbund said.

Verbund and Sabanci in December agreed to tackle the Turkish power market together and build electricity production, transmission, and distribution companies, aiming for a 10 percent share of Turkey's power market by 2015.

"The Turkish electricity market, which will be deregulated successively in the next years, is one of the strongest growth markets worldwide," Verbund said. "Electricity consumption in Turkey is expected to quadruple by 2020. As a result, new power plant capacities of 60,000 MW are needed."

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