HomeWorld RegionsEuropeElektrim replaces Iberdrola as G8 front runner

Elektrim replaces Iberdrola as G8 front runner

The Polish Telecommunications and power group, Elektrim, has been selected to negotiate exclusively with the government for control of the G-8 group of power distributors in central and northern Poland. This follows the failure of original favourite, Spain’s Iberdrola, to come to an agreement during the exclusivity period it was granted last month.

Aldona Kamela-Sowinska, outgoing state treasury minister, said she had chosen the consortium for exclusive negotiations to buy 25 per cent of G-8.

Poland’s power distributors are seen as a prize for utility companies as the economy develops and the country moves towards European Union membership later this decade.

Alongside Iberdrola, Belgium’s Electrabel and Germany’s E.ON Energie were among companies interested in the stake.

To date, Poland has sold a stake in only one power distribution company, GZE, to Sweden’s Vattenfall, concentrating privatisation efforts on its relatively less alluring power generators.

The G-8 sale, expected to net at least 2bn zlotys ($488m) for the Polish state, would boost Elektrim, which recently ceded control of its telecoms operations to Vivendi Universal.

The consortium partners are oil company PKN Orlen; gas utility PGNiG; and Kulczyk Holding, Polish mogul Jan Kulczyk’s industrial group.

However, Wieslaw Kacz-marek, incoming treasury minister, has promised a review of privatisation deals begun by his predecessor. He told Polish media this month that he thought the G-8’s companies should be better integrated before privatisation.

Ms Kamela-Sowinska made the announcement at a press conference, when she summed up her seven months as privatisation chief. She said state privatisation revenues for the year to date totalled 15.37bn zlotys, against a budget target of 18bn zlotys for the year.