E.ON, CEZ Bulgaria Units to Launch IPOs in April, May

Energy | February 17, 2012, Friday // 12:53|  views

The sale of the minority stakes in the electricity distributors on the stock exchange was considered a must-do task in 2011. Photo by Sofia Photo Agency

Bulgaria's government is expected to list its 33% minority stake in E.ON and CEZ power distributors in April and May respectively in a bid to enliven the local stock exchange and boost revenues.

This was announced by Emil Karanikolov, executive director of the Privatization Agency.

Speaking earlier to members of the parliamentary energy commission he explained that E.ON deal was delayed because of the sale of the Bulgarian unit E.ON Bulgaria to private Czech company Energo Pro, which has not been wrapped up yet.

The local units of Germany's E.ON and Czech CEZ were initially expected to launch their initial public offerings (IPOs) at the end of last year or in January.

The delay has prompted speculations that CEZ is considering a withdrawal from Bulgaria, but the company has vehemently denied those rumours.

The third power distributor in the country - Austria's EVN AG - acquired more than 97% in the capital of its two units in Bulgaria right after the trade with their shares started on the local stock exchange at the end of last year.

A total of 112,795 shares in the two companies - Electrosnabdiavane and Electrorazpredelenie - were sold, raising BGN 92.97 M, well above the government's target of BGN 78.4 M.

Bulgaria offered 62 106 shares in Electrosnabdiavane and 51 612 shares in Electrorazpredelenie at a minimum price per share of BGN 120.31 and BGN 1,373.92 respectively.

The average price achieved during the trade for the shares from the two companies was BGN 156.60 and BGN 1632.56 per share respectively, data showed.

The majority owner bought out nearly all shares right away because the terms of the tender allowed that they all are offered for trade on the very first day - December 21, analysts have explained.

Such a development is highly likely to lead to the delisting of the two companies, which make up the power utility Bulgarian unit, more successful and with higher profits than any of the other electricity distribution companies in the country.

Experts have repeatedly called on the government to launch high-quality initial public offerings to bring back to life the capital market, dented by low liquidity and lack of quality stock, as well as to boost revenues.

That's why the sale of the minority stakes in the electricity distributors on the stock exchange was a must-do task for 2011.

The looming delisting of EVN Bulgaria unit however has triggered speculations that the bourse was just used as a tool by the government to sell its minority stake to the majority owner at a much lower price.

In 2004, the Balkan country sold 67% in its three power distributors to Germany's E.ON, Austria's EVN and Czech CEZ.

E.ON serves households in North-Eastern Bulgaria, including the Black Sea city of Varna. Czech power utility CEZ supplies power to over 2 million households and companies in western Bulgaria, while EVN serves the south-eastern parts of the country.

At the beginning of December German electric energy company E.ON struck a deal to sell its Bulgarian unit E.ON Bulgaria to private Czech company Energo Pro.

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Tags: Austria, Electrosnabdiavane, Bulgarian, Bulgaria, state-owned, energy, Banks Investments Money, IPOs, ELANA, public offerings, market, capital, government, initial, Telecommunications Company, BTC, Boyko Borisov, CEZ, EVN, E.ON, Electrorazpredelenie, Energo PRO


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