CEZ to sell power assets to end EU anti-competitive probe

Czech electricity major CEZ AS (CEZ:CP) has confirmed it will sell up to two of its coal fired power plants in an attempt to end a European Commission investigation into suspected anti-competitive behaviour, reports Reuters.

CEZ would face large fines if found guilty of blocking rivals from the domestic wholesale market. EU regulators started its investigation back in 2009, but CEZ has always denied any wrongdoing.

According to Reuters, CEZ’s sale proposal may well address the commission’s concerns, but the EC said it would be speaking with rivals and customers before making a final decision on whether to drop the investigation.

à‚ CEZ confirmed it would sell power assets with capacity of 800-1000 MW.

The settlement could include the 1000 MW Pocerady power station or its 800 MW Chvaletice power plant, which are already earmarked for a possible sale.

One potential buyer is the supplier of lignite to both these plants, Czech Coal, which is owned by businessman Pavel Tykac.

Tykac said in a newspaper interview last week the price for the two plants could be close to 20bn crowns ($966m), including carbon emission permits.

Another potential bidder is EPH, an energy investment group that has swapped assets with CEZ in recent years. It is controlled by investor Petr Kellner and Czech-Slovak investment group J&T.

CEZ said it may alternatively sell its hard coal fired Detmarovice power station, located in the east of the country, or its Tisova power plant together with its Melnik 3 power station.

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