Czech firms handed raft of deals as Klaus lobbies for Russia's nuclear bid

By bne IntelliNews December 9, 2011

bne -

Czech and Russian firms signed a raft of contracts in the power and transport sectors worth at least €2.15bn on December 8 during a visit to Prague by Russian President Dmitry Medvedev. Meanwhile, Russophile Czech President Vaclav Klaus hinted that he could favour the Russian-led bid for the €25bn contract to build the next phase of the Temelin nuclear power plant.

Overall, 14 deals were inked during Medvedev's two-day trip at the head of a large commercial delegation, with a €1.5-2.0bn joint venture between OHL and Russian Railways to build a 390km rail line in the north Urals the headline contract.

At the same time, Czech Alta Invest agreed with nuclear fuels producer TVEL to establish a joint venture to supply nuclear fuel and related services to the European market, reports Czech Position, and also signed a contract with Uralmetanolgroup to build a methanol production plant in the Sverdlovsk region.

Three other Czech companies secured multi-million-euro contracts to work on power plants in Russia, suggesting that Moscow is looking to butter up the Czechs ahead of the tender to build two new nuclear units at Temelin, the winner of the tender for which is set to be announced in late 2013.

The lobbying for the contract has begun in earnest, with Russia's Atomstroyexport - competing against - France's Areva and the Toshiba subsidiary Westinghouse Electric - insisting in November that it will sub-contract most of the work to local firms should it win.

Klaus took the opportunity to apparently throw his weight behind the Russian bid, telling the press that in discussions with Medvedev, "I emphasized that in the offer from the Russian side I see a positive aspect in so far as from the three offers, the Russians will most likely offer the greatest share of possibilities for cooperation for Czech firms as subcontractors. Of course, the offers have not been submitted; I'm just saying how I see it now. But I told [Medvedev] that we consider this to be significant."

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