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CEZ Submits its Adjusted Bid for the Purchase of Slovenske Elektrarne

Czech power company CEZ submitted its adjusted bid for the purchase of dominant Slovak power producer Slovenske elektrarne (SE) on Friday, September 3, CEZ spokesman Ladislav Kriz said without disclosing further details.

"We shall not comment on the bid, the Slovak commission must see it first," Kriz said.

The other suitors for SE are Enel of Italy and Russian company UES International, both of which should submit their adjusted bids on the same day. Investors first handed in binding bids for 66% of SE in late July but the commission asked them to adjust the bids, which will be examined again by privatisation adviser PricewaterhouseCoopers.

The government's privatisation commission will discuss them on September 10 and will recommend the best one for approval by the cabinet. The cabinet is due to decide on the winner by end-September. CEZ said it considered its bid to be the best because the two companies had for decades been one and split only with the break-up of the former Czechoslovakia.

"We have a chance to create a strong group in what was once the eastern bloc as counter-balance to other energy concerns in Europe," said CEZ CEO and board chairman Martin Roman. According to unofficial reports, Enel offered 40 billion crowns in its first bid but asked for a change to some of SE's contracts.

CEZ reportedly offered 31 billion crowns but its bid did not cover the Jaslovske Bohunice nuclear power plant, which is out of operation, and the neighbouring V-1 nuke which has to be decommissioned by 2008 in line with agreements with the EU. UES reportedly offered 19 billion crowns.

(NewsBase 06.ix.04)

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