Paris / Prague The Energetic and Industrial Holding (EPH) group of Czech investors Daniel Křetínský was interested in buying two of several coal-fired power plants in France. Referring to the source, it was written by French daily Le Monde on Thursday. However, officially, no group confirmed it. Křetínský just bought shares in the Le Monde company.
"We do not comment on speculation about the alleged intention of our acquisition," EPH spokesman Daniel Castave said on Thursday.
According to Le Monde, Křetínský wants to acquire French assets from the German group Uniper, which mainly operates coal-fired power plants in Gardanne in the south of the country and the second at Saint-Avold in the east. There are also two gas power plants at Saint-Avold, the daily said.
Křetínský buys part of the company, which controls French Le Monde. The part in the journal is very minimal
"Czech billionaire Daniel Křetínský explained his interest in investing in Le Monde specifically by promoting & # 39; press support. According to him, he did not have to be a lever to invest in the energy sector in France. But that did not prevent EPH, the lead group, look for opportunities on the French market, "the letter wrote.
He referred to previous speculations that Křetínský's interest in paper was actually an attempt to penetrate the French market and search for a part of the country in Engie's energy company. Křetínský himself, however, has recently ruled out in an interview with French daily Les Echos.
Uniper in France, according to Le Monde, also has several solar and wind power plants and one electricity supplier for small and medium enterprises.
"But EPH is not the only bidder, interest has manifested several investment funds and the fighting is not over," the daily said.
He also warned that Uniper and other coal-fired power plants in the country must be closed until 2022, when President Emmanuel Macron committed during the election campaign, and in October the closure plan was also confirmed by the Minister of Environment. "This policy decision and uncertainty surrounding compensation might reduce asset prices," Le Monde said.
According to him, the new owner will have the power to turn off the power plant or change it. For example, the Gardanne power plant has invested in biomass over the past few years, and the plant in Saint-Avolde wants to switch to gas.
The energy sector in France is dominated by giants Total, Engie and EDF. Křetínský said that he did not see a big opportunity for his group in France and that he did not plan to take part in the privatization of the part of Engie, which will take place in the coming months, or to enter GRTGaz in the capital, Le Monde said.
"But that doesn't prevent him from thinking about the future. According to our information, Daniel Křetínský met Patrick Pouyanne, General Manager of Total, and talked to him about Engie's future in terms of group division," wrote Le Monde. This scenario, however, remains a fiction. "Pouyanne, in all honesty, has ruled out the possibility of taking part in such an operation," the diary concluded.