* Cuts year profit outlook to CZK 40 bln, from 41 bln
* Says exit from loss-making Albania unit likely solution
* Q3 attributable net profit CZK 6.61 bln, vs 7.99 bln poll
* Shares fall, underperforming wider market
(Adds company comments and details on tenders)
By Jan Korselt
PRAGUE, Nov 8 Czech electricity company CEZ
trimmed its 2012 profit outlook on Thursday because
of losses in an Albanian unit and said an exit from the Balkan
state was the most likely solution to its problems.
The Albanian distribution unit hit majority state-owned
CEZ's third-quarter earnings, released on Thursday, causing net
profit to miss analysts' estimates.
CEZ, central Europe's largest listed company, said it
expected 2012 net profit before minorities of 40 billion crowns
($2.0 billion). It had previously expected 41 billion, up from
40.8 billion in 2011.
CEZ shares fell 1.8 percent, deeper than a 0.8 percent drop
for Prague's PX index and 0.4 percent fall in the STOXX
Europe 600 utilities index.
CEZ has been fighting with Albanian authorities over power
imports and prices, and said last week it could decide by the
end of the year whether to pull out of the market.
"I think the mostly likely solution will be the exit of CEZ
from Albania," Chief Executive Daniel Benes said.
Chief Financial Officer Martin Novak said a sale of the
Albanian division could have a positive impact on CEZ's net
profit because accounted losses would then be lowered.
Third-quarter net profit more than doubled to 6.61 billion
crowns, but missed the average estimate of 7.99 billion in a
Reuters poll. Revenue rose 5.2 percent to 49.45 billion crowns,
in line with the poll.
A drop in 2012 profit would extend an earnings slide to a
third year since CEZ posted record profit during the global
downturn in 2009 thanks to its practice of pre-selling output.
Falling power prices in a weak European economy have since
caught up with the company, hitting profit and causing it to be
more conservative in hedging operations for domestic production,
which still is the biggest contributor to CEZ earnings.
CEZ said it had presold 94 percent of its expected 2013
output and 48 percent for 2014. It said it sold 2013 power at an
average price of 51.50 euros per megawatt hour. On Wednesday,
the country's Cal '13 baseload contract dipped to 46.50 euros.
DIVESTMENT, TEMELIN PLANS GO AHEAD
CEZ is in the middle of divestment plan aimed at appeasing
EU antitrust regulators, while at the same time running a
multi-billion dollar tender to expand its Temelin nuclear power
CEZ disqualified France's Areva from the Temelin
tender last month because its bid failed to meet important
criteria, leaving Toshiba's U.S. unit Westinghouse and
Russia's Atomstroyexport as the only bidders.
CEZ said on Thursday it expected no delay to picking a
winner by the end of 2013 as planned, despite appeals by Areva,
which had said it would turn to regulatory authorities. Media
have speculated appeals could delay or scupper the tender.
"I do not see any significant risk increase making us unable
to pick a winner," Benes said.
Benes said CEZ would sell one or two coal-fired power
plants. A decision is expected at the end of the year.
CEZ has asked the two bidders for its Pocerady and
Chvaletice - privately owned companies Czech Coal and EPH - to
sweeten bids, which are due on Friday, Benes said. A second
round of bids for hard coal-fired Detmarovice are also due.
(Writing by Jason Hovet; Editing by Dan Lalor)