June 23, 2018 / 6:02 AM / in 25 days

Czech government reshuffles CEZ supervisory board

PRAGUE, June 23 (Reuters) - The Czech government, a 70-percent owner of electricity producer CEZ, replaced three members of the firm’s powerful supervisory board at an annual general meeting on Saturday, a company spokesman said.

Changes to the board follow a parliamentary election last year in which the ANO movement of Andrej Babis won the largest share of the vote and Babis became prime minister.

Babis has long been critical of the way the largest listed Czech firm with market capitalisation of $13.5 billion is being run.

The annual meeting recalled supervisory board chairman Vaclav Paces and two other members appointed by the previous government, in which ANO was junior partner to the centre-left Social Democrats, to the 12-strong board.

It appointed former central bank board member Lubomir Lizal, senior Finance Ministry official Karel Tyll and CEZ audit committee member and former consultancy KPMG executive Otakar Hora, a CEZ spokesman said.

The appointments tilt the balance of power on the board toward the current administration.

The supervisory board appoints and recalls the board of directors at CEZ, which has been led by Chief Executive Daniel Benes since 2011.

Benes has been pushing for a restructuring at CEZ which would spin off the firm’s energy services, renewable plants and possibly distribution asset units into a separate entity while the government would take full control of a part of the firm that would keep nuclear and lignite power plants.

The state-owned part would be in charge of building new nuclear units.

Babis has been cool on the idea, which has not been put to any shareholder vote.

Babis was appointed prime minister this month for the second time and is building a coalition with the Social Democrats, after his previous one-party cabinet appointed in December last year lost a vote of confidence in parliament.

The annual meeting also approved a 33 crown dividend per share on 2017 earnings. (Reporting by Jan Lopatka)

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