The government has short-listed five investors for the purchase of an equity stake and management control in the Kot Addu thermal power station.

They are: National Power and British Gas, both of the UK, and Mission Energy, CMS, and Southern Electric, all of the US.

Financial advisers for the project are CS First Boston and the local BMA Capital Management.

The selected investors have been invited to undertake technical studies at the plant during March and an award is expected by April or May. An independent technical study was commissioned for the investors from the UK’s Stone & Webster.

Kot Addu power station, in the Punjab province, is a co-generational facility with a 1,600-MW capacity on completion of an on-going expansion. It has eight gas turbines and two combined-cycle units of 112 MW each. Two gas turbines and three combined-cycle units will be commissioned by June.

The chosen investor will take a 26 per cent stake in the project. The government will retain the remainder. The government is committed to supply 70 million million cubic feet of gas to the power station for eight months a year. The Dhodak oil field which is being developed near the plant and the proposed import of gas from Qatar will increase the availability of gas to the plant, the government says.

CS First Boston and BMA are also financial advisers for the 880-MW Jamshoro power station, 80 kilometres from Karachi. A similar partial privatisation will start once the Kot Addu sale is completed. The plant will sell power under a long-term fixed price contract with the Water & Power Development Authority.