Inercom Bulgaria divests PV assets to win approval for deal with CEZ


SOFIA (Bulgaria), September 21 (SeeNews) - Inercom Bulgaria said on Friday that it has sold its photovoltaic business in order to address the concerns of the competition authority, which has blocked the acquisition of the local assets of Czech energy group CEZ by the company.

Inercom has informed the Commission for Protection of Competition about the "substantial change in circumstances", which also indirectly affects the deal with CEZ, and has sought the regulator's approval to complete the acquisition, the Sofia-based company said in a statement.

In July, the anti-trust body banned the deal, saying it will lead to the establishing of a dominant position on the photovoltaic energy generation market.

The transaction is of strategic importance for Bulgaria and its potential effects will have direct implications for the national security, due to the the wide range of activities of the companies being acquired and their importance to the Bulgarian electricity system, the regulator said at the time.

CEZ assets in Bulgaria includes power distributor CEZ Razpredelenie [BUL:3CZ], power supplier CEZ Electro Bulgaria [BUL:1CZ], licensed electricity trader CEZ Trade Bulgaria, IT services company CEZ ICT Bulgaria, solar park Free Energy Project Oreshetz, biomass-fired power plant Bara Group and CEZ Bulgaria, which manages and coordinates the operations of the group's Bulgarian units.

The price of the transaction is 326 million euro ($378.3 million), according to CEZ Group's annual financial statement published in March.

The contract between CEZ Group and Inercom was signed on February 23. It raised concerns about Inercom's ability to finance the acquisition, which resulted in the establishment of a parliamentary ad hoc committee with the purpose of looking into the deal.

Inercom Bulgaria was incorporated for the purpose of the deal with CEZ. It is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Sofia-based Inercom Investments, according to data from the Bulgarian commercial register. The company has a registered capital of 50,000 levs.

($ =0.8618 euro)

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