July 30, 2019 / 12:19 PM / 23 days ago

Czech CEZ to expand into Latvia, Lithuania

PRAGUE, July 30 (Reuters) - CEZ, central Europe’s biggest utility company, will move into the Latvian and Lithuanian power and gas markets in the next few months and expand its trading activities in the Balkans, CEZ’s Director of Trading Ludek Horn said on Tuesday.

* Majority state-owned CEZ has also started to trade more in Belgium, France and Italy and is entering the UK power trading market to take advantage of the new transmission line to the continent, he told Reuters in an interview.

* “This will be an interesting market for us,” Horn said of the UK. “This is a market where we want to step in and should be active in a few weeks.” CEZ already trades physical gas in the UK.

* Growing liquidity on spot exchanges is making the Balkans an attractive region to expand power trading activities, Horn said.

* “Gas will play a big role in Europe in general and one reason why we are entering into new markets,” Horn said.

* CEZ first began trading a foreign market in 2004 when it launched power futures/spot trading in Germany. In 2018, CEZ generated 3 billion Czech crowns from its propriety trading, up 1 billion crowns from a year earlier.

* The company’s latest expansion will ensure the utility is active in nearly all European markets, including Scandinavia where it plans to soon start trading physical power futures in addition to financial products, Horn said. (Reporting by Michael Kahn, Editing by Susan Fenton)

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