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Grid Operator CEPS Considers Buying 34 % of Own Shares from CEZ

The state-owned power grid operator CEPS could buy the 34 % of its shares held by the Czech national power utility CEZ, CEPS spokeswoman Jitka Matiskova told Interfax.

Last year, CEZ sold 66 % of CEPS to the state-controlled company Osinek for CZK 15 bn and, under the terms of a ruling by the Anti-Monopoly Office (UOHS), it has to sell the remaining stake by September 2004.

The National Property Fund (FNM) and the Labor and Social Affairs Ministry hold 15 % of CEPS, will have the final say on the sale, says Matiskova.

FNM spokeswoman Petra Krainova told Interfax that CEPS shareholders would vote on the sale during the company’s mid-June annual general meeting.

CEZ spokesman Ladislav Kriz told Interfax the deal was “one option” for selling the company’s CEPS shares.

Earlier this year, CEZ hired CA IB Corporate Finance and HVB Bank Czech Republic to advise on the sale of its minority stake in CEPS, as well as stakes in two regional distributors is has to sell.

CEPS saw its net profit rise to CZK 1.6 bn last year, up from CZK 354 mln a year earlier. Its sales rose 25 % to CZK 15.7 bn in 2003. CEPS’ chief concerns are transmitting electricity, balancing electricity supply and demand on a minute-by-minute basis, and developing the Czech transmission system.

(Interfax 16.iv.04)

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