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PGE: Dropping Opole project?

PGE: Dropping Opole project?

4.4.2013 9:03

According to Reuters quoting an unnamed source close to PGE , the company's investment committee has advised the group's management board to pull out of a project to build a US$ 3.56bn (PLN 9bn) coal-fired power plant at Opole. Reportedly the management board was scheduled to discuss the recommendation today but the outcome of the discussion is not yet known. A person close to the matter added “it is unlikely the management board will not follow this recommendation." Reuters managed to obtain a second source confirming the investment committee had advised pulling out of the project.

Our view:
The plan to build two 900-megawatt coal-fired units at Opole, near Poland's border with the Czech Republic, was considered a strategic investment as Poland needs to replace its outdated capacity with new power plants to avoid blackouts in the years ahead. But falling electricity prices and weaker demand linked to Poland's slowing economy have raised questions about the profitability of the new investment. If confirmed, this decision may add some PLN 3.5bn to PGE’s valuation: we had assessed the project to be value destructive, as it would have meant burning PLN 9bn in  a negative NPV project. On the other hand, local construction companies Polimex , Rafako and Mostostal Warszawa had been keenly awaiting the Opole project. We believe the recent share price decline at Polimex might have been triggered to some extent by the uncertainty surrounding the Opole project. We believe the investment case for Polimex will alter if PGE scraps the Opole project. Our valuation for Polimex of PLN 0.4 per share includes the execution of the Opole project starting from 2H13. We believe it would be extremely difficult for the company to replace the missing revenues if Opole was out of the portfolio. We may also observe some of Polimex's creditors being wary about the extension of the standstill agreement, given the falling out of one of the two main projects supposed to help the company survive. We expect further comments from political sources on the matter.


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