Dispute Over Geothermal La Geo Heats Up Again

Two Salvadoran government agencies are insisting on not giving the majority shares in the La Geo generator to Italy's Enel, despite a court of international arbitration ruling against them.

Friday, March 30, 2012

Inversiones Energéticas (INE) and Comisión Ejecutiva Hidroeléctrica del Río Lempa (CEL) have again refused to give the Italian company Enel Green Power a majority stake in the geothermal company La Geo, despite a ruling by an international body against them.

"The International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) ruled last year that the state run companies INE and CEL, shareholders of La Geo, must allow Enel to be able to capitalize on its investment as stipulated in the contract signed by both parties. If the ruling is complied with, Enel will raise its shareholding in La Geo from 36 to over 50%, which would displace the other two as members of the geothermal mainstream," published Elsalvador.com.

At a shareholders' meeting a few days ago, Enel stated its intention of reaching a settlement with INE and CEL to end the over two year long dispute. However, the two entities could not reach an agreement, according to Valerio Cecchi, the manager of Enel Green Power for Latin America.

"Overall it has been a lost opportunity that has implications for La Geo as well as for the country", said the executive, who said that the impasse is delaying the implementation of investment that could increase the production capacity of electric power.

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