3 Min Read
* Czech Coal offering up to 10 billion crowns
* Gives more time for CEZ supervisory to debate
* Czech state majority owner of CEZ
* Finance ministry has raised objections to sale (Changes sourcing, adds details)
PRAGUE, May 17 (Reuters) - Energy group Czech Coal has extended its 10 billion crown ($420 million) offer to buy the Pocerady coal-fired power plant from Czech utility CEZ , it said on Wednesday, giving more time for the deal to overcome state objections.
Majority state-owned CEZ's supervisory board will discuss the sale of the 1,000 MW plant to its rival on Thursday after putting off a decision last month despite Czech Coal setting an end-April deadline for its offer terms.
CEZ is looking to sell Pocerady to reduce its coal-fired generating capacity and to focus on refurbished plants that emit lower emissions. It has an option to sell to Czech Coal in the future but the group, owned by tycoon Pavel Tykac, wants to buy now to begin modernisation work.
CEZ management has backed the deal. The finance ministry, holder of the state's 70 percent stake in CEZ, has objected.
A Czech Coal spokeswoman said the company had extended the offer date at CEZ's request to allow the supervisory board time to discuss it this month. She added the company would not go ahead with a sale if the finance ministry opposed it.
CEZ's supervisory board has four members appointed by the finance ministry, controlled by billionaire businessman Andrej Babis, whose ANO party is in the three-party ruling coalition. Babis has raised questions over the speed of the sale.
The other government parties nominated four members to the supervisory board and the last four represent CEZ employees.
Czech Coal, in a letter to CEZ last month seen by Reuters, said delays to the sale would undermine its economic rationale.
It is offering to pay 4.6 billion crowns ($186 million) in cash, more than twice the price of 2 billion crowns that would come due in 2024 under an option in a long-term coal-delivery contract that the two companies signed in 2013.
The rest of the payment would come in the form of coal and electricity supplies. ($1 = 23.8240 Czech crowns) (Reporting by Jason Hovet and Jan Lopatka, editing by David Evans)