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UPDATE 1 - Eurohold Bulgaria files more info regarding anti-trust probe of CEZ deal

Author Mario Tanev
UPDATE 1 - Eurohold Bulgaria files more info regarding anti-trust probe of CEZ deal Eurohold/All rights reserved.

SOFIA (Bulgaria), October 15 (SeeNews) - Eurohold Bulgaria [BUL:4EH] said on Tuesday that it has filed additional documents with the local competition authority related to the regulator's in-depth probe into Eurohold's deal for the purchase of the assets of Czech energy group CEZ in Bulgaria.

The documents provide evidence that Eurohold Bulgaria and its units do not have a leading position in terms of suretyship insurance on the domestic market and do not offer suretyship insurance to electricity traders in Bulgaria, the financial and insurance group said in a statement.

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The group's combined market share on the suretyship insurance segment is 5%, according to data from Eurohold.

However, there is a severe discrepancy between the data provided by Eurohold and the data published by Bulgaria's insurance market regulator - the Financial Supervision Commission (FSC).

According to the FSC data published last week, Eurohold's unit Euroins controlled a 41.6% market share on the suretyship insurance segment, with gross written premiums of 20.9 million levs ($11.8 million/10.7 million euro) in the first eight months of 2019. The largest player on the segment was OZK Insurance with premiums of 21.8 million levs, or a market share of 43.4%.

However, Bulgaria's Commission for Protection of Competition (CPC) has misinterpreted the data, not taking into account the fact that Euroins has booked most of its suretyship insurance premiums on foreign markets, Eurohold Bulgaria said in response to a request for comment by SeeNews. Euroins has significant operations in Italy, Spain, Poland, the group said

According to the data submitted by Eurohold to the CPC, Euroins is the only Bulgarian insurer which has offered suretyship insurance abroad.

Earlier this month, CPC launched an in-depth probe into Eurohold's 335 million euro deal for the acquisition of the local assets of CEZ.

The combination of the resources and operations of two large economic groups, active on the insurance and energy markets, would significantly impact their market positions, the CPC said in its decision for the start of the probe. Such a deal could lead to the expansion of an economic group, especially in terms of assets, to an extent that it threatens competition on the whole market, according to the regulator.

The assets of CEZ in Bulgaria comprise power utility CEZ Distribution Bulgaria [BUL:3CZ], power supplier CEZ Electro Bulgaria [BUL:1CZ], licensed electricity trader CEZ Trade Bulgaria, IT services company CEZ ICT Bulgaria, solar park Free Energy Project Oreshetz, biomass-fired power plant Bara Group and CEZ Bulgaria.

CEZ's earlier deal with Sofia-based Inercom for the sale of the group's assets in Bulgaria fell through as CEZ failed to obtain approval from the CPC.

(1 euro = 1.95583 levs)

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