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Power industry put on slow charge

With south-east Asian economies recovering, governments are making cautious moves to restructure and expand their power industries to meet increased demand. None wants a California-style crisis. However, foreign investor interest is likely to be limited and financing must be provided by local debt and equity markets.

Moth-balled power projects in Asia may have
to be dusted off, as demand rises

Governments across south-east Asia are on the brink of making fundamental energy sector reforms that should keep a steady stream of deals in the pipeline for the next few years.

Despite California's power shortages, blamed on mistakes made in the restructuring and deregulation of the US industry, deregulation is likely to continue in Asia, as countries there expect rising electricity demand to accompany resumption of economic growth.

All this translates into corporate finance advisory work and fund-raising mandates for investment banks as governments privatize utilities and sell off power generators and independent power producers raise money to take on or expand existing projects.

Before the 1997-98 Asian crisis, new power capacity was busily added as the region's electricity consumption grew in line with rapid economic expansion.

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