CEZ will make a proposal to the Finance Ministry in one week to speed up payment for the state’s stakes in eight regional power distributors (REAS) recently merged with CEZ, the Czech Press Agency reports. Recently, the ministry expressed its interest in receiving complete payment in 2003 instead of a previously agreed series of installments to be paid till 2006. For CEZ, financing the purchase of the distributors via a loan from the state or from banks is of little distinction, therefore the news is neutral.
CEZ bought the state’s stakes in the distributors for CZK 32 bil., out of that approx. CZK 15 bil was paid via the transfer to the state of a 66% stake in CEPS, the transmission-grid operator; the rest (CZK 17 bil.), plus the capital gain tax on the CEPS sale (approx. CZK 4 bil.), is to be paid in cash.
Separately, the Czech Lidove noviny daily reports today that it is possible that the four REAS stakes that CEZ must divest due to an anti-trust decision could be sold back to the state for the same price they were purchased. Also, an inter-ministry committee should be reportedly created to oversee the strategic decisions of CEZ management.