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BGN256 4.0  1.6%

Last Trade - 15/01/21

Small Cap
Market Cap £224.3m
Enterprise Value £239.6m
Revenue £170.9m
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UPDATE 1-Bulgaria energy minister resigns over CEZ deal

Fri 23rd February, 2018 1:57pm
(Adds details, official quotes, background) 
    SOFIA, Feb 23 (Reuters) - Bulgarian Energy Minister 
Temenuzhka Petkova resigned on Friday over her links to the 
owners of Inercom, a small company slated to buy CEZ's assets in 
Bulgaria as the government sought to quell concerns it had 
influenced the deal. 
    Czech power utility CEZ  CEZP.PR  has approved Inercom's bid 
to take over an energy distributor that provides electricity to 
over 3 million people in northwestern Bulgaria, an energy trader 
and several renewable energy assets.  urn:newsml:reuters.com:*:nL8N1QC5YP 
    The deal, estimated at about 320 million euros ($394 
million), raised concerns among lawmakers across political 
parties about the ability of the little-known company to finance 
and operate strategic power assets. 
    Electricity costs are politically sensitive in the Balkan 
country of 7.1 million people, which also ranks as the most 
corrupt European Union member state, according to Transparency 
    Following media reports that Petkova has been a witness at 
the wedding of the owners of Inercom, she confirmed she had 
known them for some 20 years, but denied any family connections 
with them or any wrongdoing.         
    Speaking to reporters in Brussels, Prime Minister Boyko 
Borissov said he would accept Petkova's resignation to assuage 
any doubts that his government had any say in the deal. 
    "I want to confirm ... (the government) had not influenced 
that deal in any way," he said. 
    The deal is pending regulatory approvals and Borisov said 
the country's energy, financial and anti-trust regulator, as 
well as the intelligence services, will look closely into the 
deal, including the origin of the funds for the transaction. 
    The head of the parliament energy commission Delyan Dobrev 
questioned the ability of Inercom, which operates several small 
solar energy installations, to manage an energy business with an 
annual revenue of about 1.8 billion levs ($1.13 billion). 
    "Initially it sounded like fake news to me," Dobrev told 
NOVA television. "How a company that I have not heard of until 
yesterday will take over one third of the power distribution 
network in Bulgaria?" he said. 
    The opposition Socialists criticised the deal, urging the 
government and the president to take a stand. 
    Volen Siderov, one of the leaders of the government's junior 
coalition partner, urged the prosecutors and anti-corruption 
authorities to scrutinise the deal. 
($1 = 1.5880 leva) 
($1 = 0.8130 euros) 
 (Reporting by Tsvetelia Tsolova, editing by David Evans) 
 ((tsvetelia.tsolova@thomsonreuters.com; +359-2-93-99-731;)) 
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