Czech firm CEZ believed to be interested in PPC lignite-fired units

The main power utility PPC’s search for business partners is not just focused on Chinese investors but also eyeing enterprises based in Europe, including the Czech Republic, the utiliy’s chief executive Manolis Panagiotakis told journalists yesterday on the sidelines of a PPC shareholders’ meeting, without mentioning any company names.

The Czech electricity company CEZ, a regional power with a market presence in a number of Balkan countries, is believed to be a prime European contender interested in entering the Greek market through acquisitions of lignite-fired power stations operated by PPC. CEZ possesses a strong understanding of the lignite market.

However, as was pointed out by Panagiotakis, a series of issues concerning Greece’s energy plan, including the role of lignite in the local market as well as PPC’s ongoing quest for free CO2 emission rights, will need to be resolved if interested investors are to proceed with actual offers.

CEZ currently operates in six central and southeast European countries, these being the Czech Republic (13 GW), Germany (98 MW), Poland (681 MW), Romania (622 MW), Bulgaria (1,267 MW) and Turkey (1,221 MW).

The Czech company is ranked Europe’s eighth biggest electricity company in terms of clientele and tenth in terms of capitalization, totaling 8.6 billion euros.

CEZ operates 55 percent of the Czech Republic’s lignite mines, producing 21 million tons in 2015. The company’s energy portfolio totals 15,718 MW of which 4,937 is represented by lignite-fired power stations.

In 2016, CEZ posted an EBITDA figure of 2.1 billion euros and a net profit of 552 million euros.