Kreditanstalt fuer Wiederaufbau (KfW) has agreed to lend the equivalent of DM 170 million ($76 million) for the project, which is one of a series of Nile dam schemes the German agency is backing.

Industry sources say the bidders are likely to include France’s Alstom, Austria’s VA Tech Hydro, Germany’s Voith Siemens Hydro Power Generation, GE Power Systemsof the US and Japan’s Toshiba Corporation.

The dam has 12 175-MW turbine generators, built by Russian companies in the 1960s. The rehabilitation project will be carried out two turbines at a time, and is scheduled for completion in 2007. The plant accounts for about 12 per cent of Egypt’s total installed generating capacity.