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UPDATE 2 - CEZ says market sounding ongoing for assets in Bulgaria

UPDATE 2 - CEZ says market sounding ongoing for assets in Bulgaria CEZ

BUCHAREST (Romania), May 10 (SeeNews) - Czech power utility CEZ Group said on Wednesday that it is still scouting the market for offers for its assets in Bulgaria and declined to comment on a reported offer submitted by Romanian power supplier and distributor Electrica [BSE:EL].

"Currently market sounding is still ongoing," the company told SeeNews in an emailed statement. "Therefore, we cannot comment more on the issue."

On Tuesday, Romanian energy minister Toma Petcu said that Electrica had placed an offer to purchase CEZ's assets in Bulgaria.

"Electrica has submitted an offer to take over the shares which CEZ has in Bulgaria. This is the company that supplies energy to Sofia and its surroundings, so we have 3 million customers, a fairly large portfolio," Petcu said in a video interview for Romanian news portal, which was live streamed on Facebook.

"We would very much like to be able to acquire this package of shares and become a regional player," Petcu added.

Earlier on Wednesday, Electrica also declined to comment. "The company does not comment on such statements," Electrica's head of marketing and press officer, Marius Chican, told SeeNews over the phone without elaborating.

CEZ Group announced in January it had decided to study options related to its equity investments in Bulgaria based on the interest of several investors.

In Bulgaria, CEZ operates a power distribution company, a retail electricity supplier and a wholesale trader. CEZ also owns a coal power plant with an installed capacity of 1,265 MW near the city of Varna as well as two renewable sources power plants.

Blue-chip company Electrica, in which the Romanian state owns a stake of 48.8%, is listed on the Bucharest Stock Exchange and the London Stock Exchange.

With approximately 10,000 employees, Electrica is providing services to over 1.6 million customers and is operating at national level organized in three zones for electric power distribution:Transilvania Nord,Transilvania Sud, Muntenia Nord, and all over the country for electric power supply, maintenance and energy services.

(1euro=4.5481 lei)