June 19, 2014 / 6:09 PM / 5 years ago

PPF to sell stake in Czech energy firm EPH

PRAGUE, June 19 (Reuters) - Investment group PPF, owned by the richest man in the Czech Republic Petr Kellner, will sell its 40 percent stake in EPH directly to the energy group it helped build into a major central European player, the companies said on Thursday.

Under the deal, EPH will cancel the shares it buys from PPF, boosting the stakes of the remaining shareholders, EPH and PPF said in a joint statement.

EPH Chairman Daniel Kretinsky’s stake will rise to 37 percent from 20 percent, while Patrik Tkac will also hold a 37 percent share. Tkac’s financial group J&T, which held a 40 percent stake before the deal, will hold the remaining shares,

Financial details of the transaction were not disclosed.

Sources told Reuters in April that EPH shareholders were close to a deal to buy out PPF, which entered the company holding electricity, coal and gas assets throughout central Europe in 2009.

One source said the price for the stake would be “in the area” of 1.1 billion euros which had been reported previously by a Czech newspaper.

EPH paid 2.6 billion euros ($3.6 billion) last year for a 49 percent stake in Slovak gas utility SPP and is a key shipper of natural gas from Russia to the European Union.

It also owns coal mines, electricity and heating plants in Germany, Poland and the Czech Republic.

EPH had earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) of 32.7 billion crowns ($1.62 billion)in 2012 on revenue of 115 billion crowns.

PPF acquired a 65.9 percent share in telecommunications company Telefonica Czech Republic in January, paying Spain’s Telefonica 2.5 billion euros for the stake.

The richest Czech’s investment group has investments across several sectors in eastern Europe and Asia. ($1 = 20.1316 Czech Korunas) (Reporting by Jason Hovet; Editing by Elaine Hardcastle)

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