Czech coal miner eyeing CEZ's power plant-paper
PRAGUE, July 19
PRAGUE, July 19 (Reuters) - Privately-owned Sokolovska Uhelna mining company could buy CEZ's coal-burning power plant Tisova to which it supplies coal as a way to end a dispute over coal prices, Sokolovska owner Frantisek Stepanek was quoted as saying on Thursday.
Electricity producer CEZ, central Europe's largest listed company with market capitalisation of $19.2 billion, plans to sell one or two coal-burning power plants in an attempt to end an investigation into suspected anti-competitive behaviour by the European Commission.
"We are monitoring the situation around CEZ's power plants and we are logically interested in Tisova," daily Hospodarske Noviny cited Stepanek as saying.
Sokolovska has been in a dispute with CEZ over the price of coal supplied to the 300-megawatt Tisova plant since 2006. Stepanek says the power giant had abused its dominant position when negotiating a contract with Sokolovska and forced the coal miner to accept overly low prices.
Purchasing the power plant would be a way to end the skirmish.
However, it is not clear yet whether Tisova will be for sale.
CEZ has said it may dispose of the 1,000-megawatt Pocerady station or its 800-megawatt Chvaletice plant, which it has already earmarked for a possible sale, as part of the settlement to end the EU probe.
The potential buyer is the supplier of lignite to both these plants, miner Czech Coal owned by businessman Pavel Tykac, who has also been fighting with CEZ over the price of coal, asking for much more than the power utility is willing to pay.
Alternatively, CEZ has said it may sell its 800-megawatt hard coal-burning Detmarovice plant in eastern Czech Republic, or the Tisova plant together with its 500-megawatt Melnik 3 station.
The daily quoted Dalkia's Czech unit chief Zdenek Duba as saying the heating company was interested in the Detmarovice plant, if the price was favourable.
A CEZ spokesman told the paper it was not decided yet which power stations will be sold and whether it would be just one or more. (Reporting by Jana Mlcochova; editing by Keiron Henderson)
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