US-based Panda Energy International has announced that it has closed the US$98M financing for its 36MW hydroelectric plant in Nepal.

  Construction of the project, known as the Upper Bhote Koshi hydroelectric plant, began in early 1997. Located about 60 miles northeast of Kathmandu, near the border with China, Upper Bhote Koshi will boost Nepal’s electric power generation capacity by more than 10 per cent. The plant is scheduled to be placed in commercial operation in the fourth quarter of 1999.

Financing for the project is being provided through a group of international lenders led by the International Finance Corporation (IFC) (a subsidiary of the World Bank) and DEG-German Investment and Development Company (a development bank owned by the German government). Other lenders consist of Dresdner Bank AG, Bayerische Vereinsbank AG and Netherlands Development Finance Company .

Dallas-based Panda Energy is the lead developer in the Nepal project and is joined by MCN Investment Corporation (MCNIC), the diversified energy arm of MCN Energy Group in Michigan, USA.

In addition to MCNIC and Panda Energy, which will share control of the Upper Bhote Koshi project, other partners in the development are:

•Himal International Power Corporation, a consortium of Nepal-based companies, with a 10 per cent equity interest;

•IFC with 10 per cent;

•Chicago-based Harza Eng- ineering Company, the project’s engineering coordinator and operator, with 5 per cent.