Pacific Hydro Limited (PHY) has purchased Chile's Coya and Pangal hydro power projects from the Corporacion Nacional del Cobre de Chile (Codelco) copper company for US$75.6M.

The takeover of the 39.3MW Coya and 37MW Pangal plants, details of which emerged towards the end of 2003, sees the Australian energy company’s total installed generating capacity increase by over 50% to 224MW worldwide.

‘Our Chilean expansion comes at an opportune time of rising domestic electricity prices due to interruptions and potential price increases of imported Argentine gas, which provides a large percentage of Chile’s power generation,’ said PHY managing director Jeff Harding. ‘The Chilean government is looking at various ways to encourage non-gas electricity generation.’

Harding hinted that PHY could help increase the country’s energy generation from renewable sources, adding that there were more opportunities for growth on the Tinguiririca and Upper Cachapoal rivers.

The deal was part financed by US$60M of non-recourse debt arranged by New York, US based bank BNP Paribas, consisting of a US$55M 10-year term loan and a US$5M 4-year revolving credit loan. Equity from PHY’s recent share placement and purchase plan provided additional funding.

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