Gezhouba, the eternal bidder

China Gezhouba Group Company Limited is a Chinese construction and engineering company established in 1970 in Wuhan, Hubei. Major shareholder of the company (40.8%) is China Gezhouba Group Corporation which is in turn a member company of state-owned China Energy Engineering Corporation.

Gezhouba is one of the largest construction companies in the world and operates in the areas of power plants, dams, roads, bridges and civil engineering in China and abroad. Gezhouba has invested in other categories of business and constructed highways, developed real estate, generated hydropower, and manufactured cement and civil explosives. Its largest projects outside China are in Kazakhstan, where it signed a contract with Kazakhstan Natural Gas Technology to establish a hydroelectric plan on the banks of the Chilik River and in Pakistan, where it was chosen to build a 40 km portion of the Hazara Motorway.

China Gezhouba Group International Engineering made its presence felt in Romania in 2011 when it expressed its firm decision to get involved in the Tarnița-Lăpuștești Pumped-Storage Hydropower Plant project. This statement was made during a meeting between the company’s Executive President, Ren Jianguo, and the Minister of Economy at that time, Ion Ariton. He invited the company to participate in the investor selection procedure, which Hidroelectrica SA was to launch.

Two years later, Gezhouba was again interested in building the Tarniţa-Lăpuşteşti Storage Hydropower Plant, in Cluj County, and investing in the construction of the Transylvania Highway and the Regional Emergency Hospital in Cluj.

View from the dam of what might be the Tarnita – Lapustesti hydropower plant. Source: transilvaniareporter.ro

In 2015, the Hidro Tarniţa Project Company, established by the Romanian state, announced that three consortia of Chinese companies, namely Gezhouba Group Company Limited/Wu Lingpower Corporation, China Huadian Engineering/Guizhou Wujiang Hydropower and Huaneng Lancang River Hydropower/Hydrolancang International Energy were interested in that project. At the same time, the Ponta Government approved several facilities for the company which was to operate the Tarniţa Hydropower Plant, i.e. cogeneration tax exemption, exemption for the acquisition of green certificates, energy tax exemption, system service tax exemption, exemption from the payment of water used in the process, electricity tax exemption, fee exemption for lands removed from the agricultural circuit and from the National Forest Fund – a state aid for which, however, the consent of the European Commission had to be obtained. According to the Ministry of Economy, the consortium formed by China Gezhouba Group Company Limited and Wu Lingpower Corporation Limited was included in the shortlist of pre-qualified investors, but it has not responded to the invitation to participate in the non-binding round of discussions that took place for a week in October 2015.

The following year, the technocratic Government abandoned the € 1.2 billion project, deeming it unprofitable. The project was brought back into discussion, being included on the list of major energy investments in the Energy Strategy developed by the Ministry of Energy. But nothing was heard of the Chinese.

 

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