Ukraine's largest private power producer threatens legal action over green energy dues

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A logo of DTEK (Donbass fuel-energy company) is seen on a building of a business centre in Kiev, Ukraine, July 5, 2016. REUTERS/Gleb Garanich

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KYIV, Nov 17 (Reuters) - DTEK Renewables, part of Ukraine's largest private power producer DTEK, on Wednesday threatened to take legal action if the government delayed repaying debts owed for renewable energy purchased by state firms.

DTEK in a statement said it was the only company that had not been paid after President Volodymyr Zelenskiy's government moved to solve a debt crunch in the renewable energy sector.

The government on Wednesday said it would review the activities of the state enterprise in charge of repaying the debts, called "Guaranteed Buyer", and would settle debts owed to companies after that.

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"Guaranteed Buyer faithfully fulfils and will continue to fulfil its obligations to producers of electricity from renewable sources and international investors in Ukraine," the government said in a statement.

Ukraine has aggressively targeted growth in wind and solar power as a way of lessening its dependence on fossil fuels, in particular on Russian gas following Russia's annexation of the Crimea peninsula in 2014.

But as the country tumbled into recession last year during the pandemic, the government struggled to pay for the power produced by wind and solar firms, angering investors.

To tackle the situation, the state-run electricity grid operator Ukrenergo tapped the market with its debut 5-year Eurobond in November in a bid to raise funds to resolve the payments crisis.

The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development invested $75 million in the securities.

DTEK Renewable said it was still owned 3 billion hryvnias ($113.6 million).

The "artificial delay" and other "illegal actions of a number of officials" had led to a drop below par in quotations of DTEK Renewables Eurobonds, the company said.

"DTEK is preparing for the legal protection of its rights and compensation for damage caused to the company and investors in international instances and national courts," it said.

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Reporting by Natalia Zinets; editing by Matthias Williams, Kirsten Donovan

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