State-backed Chinese firm Gezhouba to help build dams in Argentina

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 24 August, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 24 August, 2013, 5:32am

State-controlled dam builder China Gezhouba Group will join forces with Argentine firms to build dams in Argentina worth US$4 billion, the Shanghai-listed firm said yesterday.

Gezhouba and two Argentine firms, Electroingenieria and Hidrocuyo, will build two dams in the southern province of Santa Cruz. The dams will have a combined installed capacity of 1,740 megawatts (MW), enabling Argentina to export electricity to other South American countries, according to Gezhouba's website. In 2009, Sinohydro - another Shanghai-listed, state-backed dam builder - won a US$2 billion contract to build the 1,500 MW Coca-Coda-Sinclaire dam in Ecuador, which was then the biggest overseas dam tender won by a Chinese company.

Gezhouba chairman Ren Jianguo met President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner in Argentina on Wednesday. At the meeting, the president expressed hope that Argentina would have more co-operation with the Chinese firm.

Separately, in Beijing yesterday, vice-president Li Yuanchao held talks with Argentine vice-president Amado Boudou, according to the website of the Chinese foreign ministry.

Li was reported to have said that the two nations should deepen co-operation in trade, investment, finance, mining, agriculture and infrastructure "to drive a Sino-Argentine strategic partnership", while Boudou said Argentina placed great importance on cultivating closer ties with China.

Gezhouba's international contracts grew 6.8 per cent to 26.6 billion yuan (HK$33.5 billion) in the first half, while the total value of its contracts rose 3 per cent to 62.5 billion yuan. The company has set a target of winning contracts worth 110 billion yuan this year, according to its interim report. Earlier this year it signed a US$1.3 billion contract with Pakistani firm SK Hydro to build the Suki Kinari hydroelectric project in Pakistan.

In the first half, Gezhouba's overseas revenue soared 41.3 per cent to 6.59 billion yuan, much faster than its domestic revenue, which grew 3.9 per cent to 22.1 billion yuan. Net profit dipped 1.7 per cent to 847.83 million yuan during the period.

Chinese companies like Gezhouba and Sinohydro are now the biggest builders of dams around the world, according to International Rivers, an international non-governmental organisation, which also said that Chinese banks finance the projects.