The Armenian government has issued a tender for the privatization of the country’s four electricity distribution companies.

The government decided to sell a majority stake in each of the companies through an international competitive tender process. The sale of the four joint-stock companies will start with the Yerevan Distribution Company which serves the nation’s capital. The other three companies may be privatized at the same time, or they may follow soon afterwards.

The tender will be restricted to companies with an annual revenue exceeding $150 million, or consortia with at least one member with an annual revenue exceeding $150 million. That company or consortium member must be an energy company and at least $100 million of its annual revenue must come from the energy sector. Closing date for qualification is 20 August 1999.

Armenia has suffered severe power shortages in the past. During a crisis in 1992-93, power was rationed to 30 minutes each day.