(DF) Eurohold Officially Completes Acquisition of CEZ Assets in Bulgaria

July 27 (BTA) – Insurance company Eurohold Bulgaria AD has officially completed the acquisition of seven subsidiaries of Czech energy group CEZ in Bulgaria for 335 million euro, the buyer’s press office reported on Tuesday. In Bulgaria, CEZ has been one of the three main distributors of electricity, servicing the west of the country, including the capital Sofia. This is the biggest transaction in Bulgaria’s energy sector in 17 years and one of the major energy deals in the region. It has been carried out through the Eastern European Electric company (EEEC), which is wholly owned by Eurohold. By acquiring and integrating the Bulgarian assets of CEZ Group, Eurohold will be able to service over 7 million customers and will have over 6,000 employees in 11 countries of Central, Eastern and Southeastern Europe and the former Soviet Union. The EEEC will operate and maintain a network of 24,971 km of medium-voltage power lines and 32,989 km of low-voltage lines. Eurohold Bulgaria Supervisory Board Chairman Asen Hristov commented that the acquisition “has ensured an inflow of over 500 million euro in the Bulgarian economy if we estimate the total value of the deal, including the price of the transaction, the forthcoming mandatory tender offer to the minority shareholders in two of the acquired companies and the investment programme of CEZ in Bulgaria.” With the acquisition and integration of CEZ Group’s local assets, the total assets and annual revenue of the combined insurance-and-energy company Eurohold Bulgaria are expected to exceed 1.5 billion euro, while its earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) are forecast to reach around 120 million euro per annum. According to its development strategy, Eurohold expects to generate annual revenue of almost 2 billion euro and annual EBITDA of 200 million euro by 2025. CEZ signed the 335 million euro deal with Eurohold Bulgaria back in June 2019. In October 2019, the Commission for Protection of Competition (CPC) refused to clear that transaction, finding that merging the experience, economic resources and market positions of the companies in the electricity and insurance markets would considerably hinder effective competition on the respective markets. The anti-trust watchdog suspected that the new owner could furnish guarantees to the energy companies when trading in electricity on the exchange. That decision was appealed before the Sofia Administrative Court, which found a number of irregularities and returned it to the Competition Commission for re-examination. In late October 2020, the CPC ultimately approved the transfer. CEZ’s assets in Bulgaria comprised the CEZ Distribution Bulgaria electricity distribution company, the CEZ Electro Bulgaria power supplier, the CEZ Trade Bulgaria licensed electricity trader, the CEZ ICT Bulgaria IT service provider, the Free Energy Project Oreshetz solar park, the Bara Group biomass-fired power plant, and CEZ Bulgaria. RI/VE //