15 August 2002 – German power group E.ON has been given until the end of August to finalize its bid for a majority stake in the G8 group, the Polish Treasury Minister Wieslaw Kaczmarek said earlier this week.

Earlier, E.ON had lost out in a bid for the group, when the Polish government instead favoured domestic power utility El-Dystrybucja.

Exclusive talks with El-Dystrybucja were extended beyond the original set date to July 25, with insiders saying that the company had probably failed to complete all the necessary documentation in time.

G8 is the informal term to describe eight electric distribution companies in Northern Poland, which controls about a fifth of the country’s electricity market. The government has put the group up for sale to generate extra revenue. Kaczmarek said in June that he expected to raise 6.6bn zlotys ($1.65bn) from the sale of G8, Gdansk Refinery and STOEN electricity distributor.

In total, the G8 companies’ annual turnover stands at €1bn ($99m) in sales and they serve approximately 2.5 million customers.

Besides Poland, E.ON has recently extended its influence in other Central European countries, and recently bought a stake in a Slovak electricity distributor. As a rapidly emerging market, Eastern Europe presents attractive investment opportunities for Western companies in its current climate.