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Market Cap £224.3m
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Inercom says up to CEZ to decide on Bulgarian state stake

Fri 9th March, 2018 3:02pm
By Tsvetelia Tsolova
    SOFIA, March 9 (Reuters) - Bulgaria's solar energy producer
Inercom said on Friday it will be up to Czech utility CEZ
 CEZP.PR  to decide whether to start talks between the companies
and the Bulgarian state over a potential Bulgarian government
involvement in the sale of CEZ's Bulgarian assets.
    CEZ has signed a contract with Inercom to sell it a power
distributor in the Balkan country along with other assets, but
the deal, estimated at about 320 million euros ($393 million)
sparked public concerns over Inercom's ability to finance and
operate strategic power assets. 
    In written responses to Reuters, Milena Stoeva, chair of the
board of directors of Inercom Bulgaria, said the company did not
believe the government taking a stake was the only way for
Bulgaria to guarantee the public interest.
    Bulgarian Finance Minister Vladislav Goranov, along with
other politicians and analysts, believe that the Balkan country
has enough tools to regulate the supply of electricity to
consumers and its participation in the deal is not necessary.
    "We agree with the finance minister and we don't believe
that the state acquiring a stake in CEZ businesses is the only
way to guarantee the public interest," Stoeva said.
    She declined to reveal the value of the deal but said that
the company, with total assets of about 100 million levs 
($62.90 million), has made firm commitments to close the
transaction and plans to deliver on them.
    Addressing the concerns about the financing of the deal,
Inercom said that it is holding talks with several global banks,
much of which do not have offices in Bulgaria and that no
offshore companies will take any part in the transaction.
    The company said it has never discussed the financing of the
deal with Russian banks and said it was ready to commit
significant equity for the deal, but did not elaborate.
    "Since signing the contract, the negotiations with the banks
are progressing well," she said, declining to name them. 
    "No offshore companies will take any part in this
transaction. In case we wanted to make a transaction via an
offshore company, we could have done that already, however we
wanted to make a transparent transaction".
($1 = 0.8135 euros)

($1 = 1.5898 leva)

 (Reporting by Tsvetelia Tsolova; Editing by Adrian Croft)
 ((tsvetelia.tsolova@thomsonreuters.com; +359-2-93-99-731;))
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