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Sakartvelo calls Kuwait for help2010-12-06 17:20
Georgia continues to extend cooperation with foreign investors making rather strange decisions. In September Georgian authorities sold Batumi oil refining plant at auction for USD 15 mln. Their next target is the Middle East. Kuwait, as it turns out, can become a wonderful partner to revive Georgian economy. Alexander Khetaguri, energy minister, has sat at the negotiating table to convince his colleagues from the Middle East that a new oil-refining plant is needed.
KIA (Kuwait Investment Authority) and KFH (Kuwait Finance House) can be of great help in this beneficial process. While Mr. Khetagury begs the Kuwaitis to take care of Georgia's economic problems, Otis Capital (USA) is carrying out a feasibility study. However, the energy minister didn't directly say whether the constructed plant would be owned by the state or the brand new factory would be put up for auction again.
On the whole, Kuwait has been familiar with Georgia's business climate for a long time. In 2007 the countries were discussing a large investment project - construction of a cascade of hydro electric power plants. The cost of the electric miracle was estimated at USD 720 mln. Among the facilities to be built were Zhoneti HPS, Tvishi HPS and Namakhvani HPS on the Rioni river.
At the end of 2009 president Mikheil Saakashvili paid the first visit to the Middle Eastern state. As a result the countries signed agreements on avoidance of double taxation and encouragement of investments. In June 2010 the states held bilateral political consultations between ministers of foreign affairs. Diplomats discussed various spheres of cooperation and decided that adoption of some agreement was necessary. As a result, an intergovernmental committee was set up. It is still unclear what the organization will do.
By the way, Mr. Khetaguri was in the Georgian delegation. Apparently his idea was that the time had come to remind of achieved agreements. Will Kuwaiti technologies be the ring-buoy against bankruptcy? If the state refuses to finance the project upon completion, the shares will be offered for sale on London and Zurich stock exchanges. Georgian leaders are ready to sell a bit less than 50% to private investors. It seems they are still shocked at the way Georgian Railway shares are sold and hope that the Georgian-Kuwaiti joint venture will yield an equally astounding result.