PRAGUE. INTERFAX CENTRAL EUROPE - Czech state-controlled power utility CEZ, listed in Prague and Warsaw, said Wednesday it has signed a EUR 102 mln deal for a 76% stake in the sole Albanian power distributor, Operatori i Sistemit te Shperndarjes (OSSH).
"For CEZ it is another step in consolidation of our position in the region of Southeastern Europe," CEZ chief executive and board chairman Martin Roman said.
Albania's annual volume of imported electricity varies according to the availability of hydroelectric power plants in the country. Last year, Albania imported approximately 40% of its annual consumption amounting to 6.5 TWh.
CEZ, already selected as the winning bidder by tendering commission in October, said OSSH serves nearly one million clients and supplies 5.3 TWh of electricity per year.
Electricity consumption in Albania per capita is less than one third of consumption in the Czech Republic (2 MWh versus 6.3 MWh per capita), but is expected to grow at a healthy pace, Roman said.
"From a long-term point of view, analysts expect that the electricity consumption in Albania will grow by 5% each year; a faster rate in the region is experienced only in Turkey where the CEZ Group operates as well," Roman said.
In other European countries, the electricity consumption mostly grows by 2-3% per year, CEZ said.
CEZ Group has long-term and extensive experience with the restructuring of distribution companies in the Czech Republic, Bulgaria and Romania, added Vladimir Schmalz, CEZ's Director of Mergers and Acquisition. The Czech company also is active in the sector in Turkey through a joint venture.
An Albanian government commission said in November that Austria's EVN and Energie Steirmark withdrew from the tender. A bid by Italy's ENEL was later rejected on technical grounds.
CEZ's revenues rose 4.1% year-on-year (y/y) in 2008 to CZK 181.6 bln, mainly thanks to an increase in the average selling price of electricity in the Czech Republic (+18% y/y) and higher domestic demand (+1.2% y/y).