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CEZ Finds No Buyer for CEPS Stake, Starts Negotiations with FinMin

CEZ, the dominant Czech power utility, has not received any bids for its 34 % stake in the national grid operator CEPS, CEZ spokesman Ladislav Kriz told Interfax Tuesday.

CEZ will now begin talks with the Finance Ministry, in line with a July 28 government decision to buy the stake if the tender was unsuccessful.

Under the terms of the agreement, the state will pay a price no higher than the market price as determined by experts, says Finance Ministry spokesman Radek Nemecek. The stake is reported to be worth CZK 6.5 bn.

The government bought 66 % of CEPS from CEZ for CZK 15.2 bn over a year ago. After the transaction, the Czech Anti-Monopoly Office (UOHS) ordered CEZ to sell the rest by autumn 2004.

Osinek, a unit of the National Property Fund (FNM), has held 51 % of CEPS since the spring of 2003. The Labor and Social Affairs Ministry holds 15 %.

(Interfax 07.viii.04)

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