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Daily News - 14 May 1999

Interest rates expected to drop soon
Interest rates that had already been dropping are expected to decline further following the announcement of the Monetary Junta that some RD$1,783.5 million is being released back into the banking system. The money's had been frozen in February when there was an upward run on the dollar exchange rate. The Monetary Junta said it retains restrictions on credits to commerce, which banks need to keep at the same levels as of 30 December, when seven out of every 10 pesos were being lent out for imports.
The money's include 20% of the bank legal reserves and RD$1,375 million retained by the Central Bank in the form of "participation certificates."

Chilean and US firms win bid for power plants
Twenty five power plants, most in bad conditions, were awarded to two firms that will capitalize new companies to operate these under private management. New Caribbean Investment and Seaboard were granted the contracts to operate the Itabo and Haina generation parks yesterday during the tender held at the Hotel Embajador yesterday. The tender was organized by the Commission for the Reform of Public Enterprise (CREP). The tender was transmitted by RTVD.
New Caribbean Investment, a firm made up by Gener, S.A., from Chile and Coastal Power Generation, bid US$177,777,777 to become proprietors of 50% of the shares of Empresa Generadora Itabo, S.A. Seaboard bid US$114.6 million. The government had set a value of US$113 million on the company.
Only Seaboard bid for Empresa Generadora Haina, S.A., offering US$144.5 million for the 50% shares of the company that was valued at US$143 million. Seaboard has been selling energy to the state and private companies for several years now, with plants located in Puerto Plata, Santo Domingo and the East Coast. The Seaboard affiliate that won the bid to manage Haina parks, is made up of Seaboard Corporation, Enron Caribe, Commonwealth Development Corporation, Basic Energy (partner of the Consorcio Energético Punta Cana Macao), and the Caribbean Basin Power Foundation.
The government thus completes the process of choosing the private partners for the privatization power distribution and generation. The new firms will contribute US$322,277,777 to the expansion and improvement of the nation's electricity service.
Last month, Union Fenosa Desarrollo and Acción Exteriores won the right to 50% shares in the distributor companies of the North and the South with US$211,901,804, while AES Distribution Dominicana was awarded the Distribuidora del Este, S.A. with an investment of US$109,304,687. The new companies are expected to begin operating in a month's time.
Generadora Haina, now to be operated by New Caribbean Investment, is made up by units Haina 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5 ; Puerto Plata 1 and 2, Barahona and San Pedro de Macorís. Also the gas units Haina-Gas, San Pedro and Barahona, and diesel plants in Manzanillo and Pedernales. Together they have an installed capacity of 663.9 megawatts, but are only producing at 36% of their capacity, generating 241 megawatts.
Generadora Itabo, S.A. is made up by steam powered Itabo 1 and 2 and Santo Domingo 5 and 8; turbogas Itabo 1 and 2; San Pedro 4 and 5, Timbeque 1 and 2; and the diesel unit of Sabana de la Mar. At year's end 1998, their installed capacity was 573 megawatts with an available 448 megawatts on line.
As part of the agreement, the new partners assume the responsibility for the labor benefits of the employees and all debts with suppliers.
Felipe Ribbeck, speaking for Coastal-Gener said that in a five year period they would invest US$400 million.

Bill to oblige tree pruning
The Chamber of Deputies approved a bill that would make it obligatory to prune trees near electricity or telephone poles, traffic lights or sign posts one month prior to the start of the hurricane season. The bill was submitted by deputies Pelegrín Castillo and José Joaquín Bidó Medina, motivated by damages caused by Hurricane Georges last year.

President promotes his computer in education plan
President Leonel Fernández visited two public high schools - Liceo Pilar Constanzo in Villa Duarte and San Vicente de Paúl in Los Minas - in heavily-populated areas of Santo Domingo to inaugurate new computer labs. While at the labs, he stressed the importance of training young Dominicans in computer skills for the country's insertion into the world today. He explained his concern that public school children would be at a major disadvantage when compared to those graduating from private schools that were installing computer labs for their students. Some 165 computer labs have been installed in public schools in Santo Domingo and 29 provinces in the first of three stages of the project that was begun with the start of the Fernández administration in 1996. The program called for the training of 8,000 professors. The program calls for the installation of another 100 by December of this year.

Dominicana Airline's big asset
The Commission for the Reform of Public Enterprise (CREP) published an audit carried out by KPMG Peat Marwick whereby the firm states that the state-owned Dominicana Airline's main assets are its flight frequencies. The company is slated to be capitalized, with the formula of 50% private company ownership in the stock of the company. Dominicana's routes are, to and from the Dominican Republic:
New York
New York (via pre-determined intermediate points)
Miami (with pre-determined intermediate points)
San Juan, Puerto Rico
Paris (via pre-determined intermediate points)
Toronto/Montreal (via pre-determined intermediate points)
Madrid (with pre-determined intermediate points)
Point-a-Pitre, Port de France/Barbados/Trinidad/Netherlands Antilles
Barranquilla, Colombia
Port-au-Prince, Haiti
Barranquilla/Bogotá/Panamá/San José, Costa Rica
Santo Domingo/Puerto Plata/Houston
Santo Domingo/Puerto Plata/Chicago
Santo Domingo/Puerto Plata/Atlanta
Santo Domingo/Puerto Plata/Boston
Santo Domingo/Puerto Plata/Philadelphia

Spanish group to invest in Samaná port tourism project
Hoy newspaper reports that Spanish investors are in the DR to inaugurate construction works in Samaná. Bancalari-Delgado, S.A., in association with an unnamed Dominican group will invest RD$4,320 million, or some US$270 million in the northeastern province. The company will build new port and marina facilities in Samaná City, as well as contemplates the expansion of the government-owned hotel from 80 to 320 rooms and an expansion of rooms available on Cayo Levantado out island.

Tickets on sale for Presidente Latin Music Festival
Tickets are for sale at Banco Popular branches for the three nights of superb Latin American music sponsored by the Dominican brewery, Cervecería Nacional Dominicana. Tickets are selling for RD$175 stands, and green areas RD$250, at the Juan Pablo Duarte Olympic Center Stadium. From last year's experience, the stand seats are to be preferred. The company is giving out a free t-shirt and cap with the purchase of three nights. The schedule is as follows:
Thursday 3, June at 6 pm. Shakira, Carlos Ponce, Victor Manuel, Toño Rosario, Tribu del Sol.
Friday, 4 June at 6 pm. Chayanne, Elvis Crespo, Nek, Fernando Villalona, Tito Rojas.
Saturday, 5 June at 6 pm. Enrique Iglesias, Marc Anthony, Los Ilegales, Toros Band, Raulín Rodríguez.

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