Thursday, 24 April 2014

Albania wants to withdraw licence of ČEZ daughter firm by end-Jan

11 January 2013

Tirana, Jan 10 (CTK) - Albanian authorities will strip from licence energy company CEZ Shperndarje, run by Czech power company CEZ, by the end of January, Albanian state energy regulator spokeswoman Entela Cipa announced Thursday.

CEZ, which has got into disputes with Albanian authorities due to alleged debts and planned sale of its daughter company, owns 76 percent in distributing company CEZ Shperndarje.

The licence withdrawal will probably lead to CEZ Shperndarje end of activities. Agency AP said that Cipa had not announced the date of a new tender. The rest of the shares is in the hands of the Albanian state.

The Albanian Energy Regulator (ERE) has started proceedings aimed at the licence withdrawal which should be closed by the end of the month, Cipa said.

CEZ spokeswoman Barbora Pulpanova told CTK Thursday that, according to information she has, talks on CEZ Shperndarje's licence should take place on January 17.

CEZ CEO Daniel Benes said in an interview for daily Lidove noviny last week that the Albanian authorities would probably take away the licence from CEZ Shperndarje in January.

CEZ is preparing an arbitration with Albania for damages for its failed investment, he added.

AP said that in case of the licence withdrawal, Albanian government would probably take control of CEZ Shperndarje.

The CEZ Group entered Albania in 2009. It got into problems last year after Albania's regulator nearly doubled the prices CEZ Shperndarje pays to the state-controlled power producer. However, the distributor was not given the possibility to raise prices for end customers at the same time.

CEZ Spherndarje also has to grapple with poor payment discipline of Albanian buyers. CEZ Shperndarje in November disconnected electricity supplies to Albania's state-owned water utilities that owed it EUR38m (Kc960m) in total for power supplies. A court in Tirana ordered it to hook the utilities to the grid again.

In December, the Albanian government accused CEZ of owing it $1bn (Kc19bn) for damage it had caused in Albania. CEZ has cast doubts on the debt.

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