8 Jan 2002 – An announcement is expected Wednesday from Czech authorities following an extended bidding process for the country’s power utility CEZ as well as the transmission grid and six regional power distributors.

Electricit�e France (EdF) is reported to have bid as well as Italy’s Enel, which has teamed up with Spain’s Iberdrola to bid for the 67.6 per cent share in CEZ. Sources close to the deal suggest that the bids may still fail to satisfy the Czech government which has indicated that it was looking to raise Kc200-250bn ($5.4-6.8bn) from the sale.

Earlier bids failed to meet Czech expectations and in December bidders were asked to resubmit offers.

The stumbling block to the sale has been the inclusion of the country’s nuclear assets and in particular the controversial Temelin close to the border with Austria. With Austria vehemently opposed to the plant, could potentially delay the Czech Republic’s accession to the EU.

The inclusion of a nuclear facility may favour EdF’s bid given its existing nuclear portfolio. Reports suggest that Enel’s bid is conditional upon the subsequent sale of CEZ’s nuclear assets to Iberdrola, which has met with objections previously from the Czech cabinet.

Analysts are putting the value of the group at Kc120-150bn depending on sale conditions.