Sector law promulgated

23 July 2004
The sale of the government's remaining power and water assets took a major step forward on 20 July, with the promulgation of the long-awaited sector law. The passage of the law relating specifically to the power sector follows the promulgation a week earlier of an umbrella privatisation law, under which all future sales of state assets will fall.

The sector law will permit the sale of the three state-owned generating plants at Rusayl, Wadi Jizzi and Ghabrah, completing the privatisation of the sultanate's generation assets. Generation will be unbundled from transmission and distribution, for which holding companies will also be formed and sold off. The Barka, Al-Kamil and Al-Manah power plants are already privately owned and operated, while the new plant at Sohar, recently awarded to a consortium led by Belgium's Tractebel, is being carried out as an independent water and power project (IWPP).

Initial public offerings (IPOs) in the Barka and Al-Kamil project companies are due to be launched by the end of 2004, arranged by Bank Muscat. Under regulations governing such projects, a 35 per cent stake must be sold within four years of a plant's commissioning (MEED 26:3:04).

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