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Group Files to Become Bhutan's First Hydroelectric Construction Company

An application filed last week with Bhutan's Ministry of Economic Affairs should give the south Asian country its first hydropower construction company, HydroWorld.com has learned.

The company -- to be called the Bhutan Energy and Infrastructure Limited (BEIL) -- hopes to capitalize on the country's natural resources by constructing new hydroelectric facilities and accelerating current projects.

Gopal Waiba, secretary of BEIL's interim executive committee, said the company had wanted to complete the registration process by March of this year, but registering some of the core promoters under Bhutan's Construction Development Board caused a delay.

With those hurdles cleared, however, Waiba says the Ministry of Economic Affairs should have the registration completed within a week.

BEIL says there are about 30 investors in the company -- each of which will contribute a minimum of about US$10,000 of the company's startup capital. That investment will be used to fund BEIL's first phase, which includes setting up the company, conducting feasibility studies and other relevant survey work required.

The second phase includes the purchase of equipement and the construction of hydropower plants, and money for this will be raised through the sale of public shares.

"Though it is a long-term investment, the company is planning to give dividends to shareholders by the fifth or seventh year of installment," Waiba says.

BEIL says its primary focus will be on sites with a capacity of 15 to 50 MW. 

HydroWorld.com reported in January on a study from the Worldwatch Institute that shows 90% of Bhutan's electrical supply comes from hydroelectric sources.

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