The Czech government has postponed its decision on selling its 67 per cent share in the utility CEZ as bids received to date have failed to meet its expectations.

The government said it needed more consultations before it could decide which of the two remaining contenders, Electricit�e France (EdF) or a consortium of Enel and Iberdrola, would be chosen to buy the state’s share. The remaining contenders have been asked to submit revised bids by 7 January and have been set a minimum price of $5.6bn.

EON of Germany and British Energy, which had been in a consortium with International Power, have not been selected to bid in the final round as they were only interested in parts of the assets being privatized. Reports from Prague said a commission studying the bids found that only Enel/Iberdrola’s offer met bid specifications, but their proposed price was too low. EdF had been considered the front-runner largely because of its nuclear experience. CEZ operates Dukovany and Temelin.