* CEZ ready to quit Kosovo power plant tender
* Will stay in if government improves conditions
(adds details, background)
PRAGUE, Oct 1 Czech power group CEZ CEZPsp.PR
will pull out of a tender to build a 2,000 megawatt coal-fired
power plant in Kosovo unless the government sweetens the deal, a
company official said on Thursday.
Vladimir Schmalz, CEZ's head of acquisitions, said the
company had not yet dropped out -- contrary to media reports in
Kosovo -- but was not satisfied with some of the legal and
financial conditions involved in the 3.5 billion euro ($5.10
He did not give specific details.
"We are still in the tender but at the given conditions it
is not attractive for us," he told Reuters. "If they create some
decent conditions, we will certainly look at it. But we hope the
conditions will be improved."
CEZ, which carries a low debt load, said last year it would
look at expansion opportunities beyond its core region due to a
lack of takeover targets in its traditional markets.
But Schmalz told Reuters last month that due to the economic
crisis, which has tightened access to financing, CEZ is now more
cautious about acquisitions and has put on hold expansion plans
in regions like Russia, Kazakhstan and Vietnam.
The same is true of Balkan countries like Montenegro and
Bosnia, though Schmalz noted that CEZ would not exclude good
opportunities even in regions it viewed as riskier.
The company's main focus at the moment is on its core market
in central and south-eastern Europe, namely the Czech Republic,
Slovakia, Poland, Hungary, Romania, Bulgaria, Serbia, Germany
For the tender in Kosovo two companies have so far pulled
out of the race, moves that raised concerns about the flow of
badly needed foreign investment in a country plagued by power
Italy's Enel (ENEI.MI) and Greece's Public Power Corp
(DEHr.AT) Sencap and another group including CEZ and AES (AES.N)
(AES.N) of the United States are still in the running to build
The country which has Europe's second largest coal reserves
suffers power cuts due to outdated capacity and a lack of
investment over the past 20 years.
(Reporting by Jan Korselt and Michael Kahn; editing by james