Poland blocks sale of EDF assets to foreign investors

By bne IntelliNews December 14, 2016

Poland will not agree to the French utility EDF selling its Polish energy assets separately to two foreign suitors, the energy ministry said on December 14. The decision is likely intended to open way for a state-controlled consortium to step in and close the deal.

EDF Polska, has been in talks with Czech/Slovak energy holding EPH over its Rybnik power plant, while its heat and power installations are the subject of negotiations with Australian investment fund IFM. In order to carry out the sales, however, EDF needs consent from the Polish government to split EDF Polska.

Poland, however, has been seeking a way to ensure EDF’s Polish portfolio ends up held by a state-controlled energy company. Warsaw has long said deals in the energy sector must meet the overall objective of energy security and it has given itself the right to block any deals.

The government has now said it will not allow EDF Polska to split the portfolio because doing so would “endanger Poland’s energy security,” energy ministry spokesman Mariusz Kozlowski told PAP.

The decision may push EDF to launch talks with a consortium of state-controlled companies that has also bid for the French company’s assets. Utilities PGE, Energa, Enea, and PGNiG Termika were reported in September to have teamed up with the Polish Development Fund (PFR) to make an offer.

"The EDF Group regrets this decision, which precludes it from exercising its legitimate rights as a shareholder, in particular the right to close the ongoing sale processes with EPH and IFM," EDF said in a statement.

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