Bulgarian Government Considers Participation in Deal for Bulgarian Business of Czech Energy Group CEZ

Sofia, March 1 (BTA) - It transpired Thursday that the Bulgarian government is considering participation in the deal for the Bulgarian business of CEZ after the plans of the Czech energy group to sell its Bulgarian assets to an obscure local company caused political turmoil. Early on Thursday morning, the owner of the aspiring buyer Inercom, Ginka Vurbakova, met with Prime Minister Boyko Borissov and said after that that she would accept the participation of the government in the deal.

The meeting was also attended by Finance Minister Vladislav Goranov and Deputy Prime Minister Tomislav Donchev.

Vurbanova said: "The Prime Minister wished to have full control over the deal and the company." She added that she is ready to transfer her contract as long as the seller accepts this option.

She said that she is leaving for the Czech Republic to inform the seller on the latest developments and discuss the options.

Finance Minister Goranov said that the government could ask to acquire a controlling interest. He added that talks on government participation in the deal are at a very early stage.

Vurbakova reiterated her claims that the financing her company has provided for the acquisition of the Bulgarian business of CEZ, is transparent. "Financing is to be provided by international banks, which will support the deal together with us. No Bulgarian banks are involved," she said.

The government press office said that Prime Minister Borissov called his Czech counterpart Andrej Babis late on Wednesday and asked his assistance "for holding talks with the leadership of the CEZ Group in case the Bulgarian government decides to take action for acquiring the power distribution business [of CEZ] in Bulgaria".

The Czech Prime Minister reportedly said that agreements have already been signed for the Bulgarian business of CEZ.

Borissov is also quoted as saying that the thoughts he exchanged with Babis in their first phone call on the matter on Tuesday, as well as the reports by Czech and Bulgarian media outlets about the financing of the deal, strengthened his fears that it is a problematic deal.

The two government leaders said that they made public their doubts that the good practices are being observed in this deal, and reconfirmed their resolve to make sure the competent authorities carry through ongoing checks of the deal.

Source: Sofia