Austrias utility company EVN told Bloomberg news agency it signed a EUR 600 million loan, proceeds of which would go for building new power generation plants in the Balkans and retirement of bond issues.

Lenders is a consortium comprising Bank Austria Creditanstalt, Barclays Capital, BNP Paribas and Citigroup.

The Austrian company has repeatedly said it would go for aggressive expansion in the region, its first step being the purchase of two power distribution companies 2.5 years ago and the second masterminding a similar acquisition in Macedonia.

EVN has also been testing ground on Bulgarias water sector. Furthermore, it has lined up as candidate for the state-owned majority stakes in the Rousse and Plovdiv thermal power plants.

The Austrian company is also involved in the gas sector. It is appealing the award of the gas distribution permit for the Plovdiv-centered Trakia region to Italys Rimini Gas.

Sales in Bulgaria jumped 58 per cent in the past 12 months, shows EVNs Q2 financial report. Sales of electricity to end-customers rose 39.1 per cent.