PRAGUE, July 29 The U.S. Export-Import Bank is
prepared to lend Czech power group CEZ around half the
cost of enlarging its Temelin nuclear power plant if U.S. bidder
Westinghouse wins a tender to build it, the bank's president
Fred Hochberg told Czech Television the bank would lend as
much as allowed under rules defined by the Organisation for
Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), a group of
Westinghouse, a unit of Japan's Toshiba Corp, and
Russia's Atomstroyexport are bidding in a tender to build two
new blocks at Temelin to more than double its size.
The project, the Czech Republic's biggest ever energy deal
and estimated to cost more than $10 billion, is facing
A CEZ board member said this month the company may delay the
decision on the expansion by 12-18 months as the government
discusses guarantees for future electricity prices.
Hochberg said delays would not change the offer of the bank,
which is the official export credit agency of the United States.
"Its condition is of course a Westinghouse win," he said.
"As long as they take part in the project, the offer of
financing will be there."
Hochberg said the loan could run for 25 years and its
interest rate would likely be at about 1 percentage point above
U.S. 10-year treasuries, so around 3.5 percent, plus some fees.
Uncertainty over the project's timing increased last month
after Prime Minister Petr Necas resigned amid a graft and spying
scandal. The central European country could face an unstable
year before scheduled elections.
The interim cabinet of Prime Minister Jiri Rusnok, who has
not won a parliamentary confirmation yet and seems unlikely to
do so, said his administration would not make any definitive
decision regarding the Temelin tender.