Owner of Bulgarian Inercom Quits Photovoltaic Energy Businesses to Save Deal with CEZ
Ginka Varbakova, the owner of Bulgaria’s family-owned Inercom Group, has left several companies that operate photovoltaic power plants in order to save a deal with Czech CEZ on the sale of its assets in Bulgaria, Investor.bg reported on September 17.
In February, CEZ announced it had selected the family-owned Inercom as the buyer of its Bulgarian assets, which raised serious concerns about the Bulgarian company’s ability to fund and run the assets. Adding to the controversy, Inercom was also found to be owned by a close friend of Bulgaria's energy minister.
In July, Bulgaria’s competition watchdog (CPC) ruled that the highly controversial deal cannot be completed as Inercom would gain excessive power on the photovoltaic electricity market. At the time, local analysts suggested that the decision of the antitrust body had no serious grounds, and aimed to put an end to the major political dispute around the sale of CEZ's assets to an unknown company furthermore controlled by owners related to the former minister of energy.
To meet CPC’s requirements, Varbakova decided to restructure her assets and left five firms.
In Bulgaria, CEZ operates an electricity distribution business with 2mn customers, a retail electricity supplier, and a wholesale trader. The Varna coal-fired power plant also owned by the firm has an installed capacity of 1,265 MW., and was recently acquired by Ahmed Dogan, the chairman of honour of Bulgaria’s ethnic-Turk Movement for Rights and Freedoms (DPS). In addition, CEZ owns two renewable plants.
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