The Bulgarian Stock Exchange Sofia announced on the afternoon of February 19 2013 that it had suspended trading in the shares of CEZ companies.
The announcement came after Prime Minister Boiko Borissov said that CEZ’s licence would be withdrawn by the end of the day and after a similar announcement by the State Energy and Water Regulatory Commission, that by the end of the day it would announce the details of the procedure to withdraw the licence.
In a statement, the Bulgarian Stock Exchange Sofia said: “Based on the official statements made by the Prime-Minister of the Republic of Bulgaria as well as on the information disclosed by various media on the statement of the Public Prosecutor’s Office about revocation of the license of both CEZ Distribution Bulgaria (3CZ) and CEZ Electro Bulgaria AD-Sofia (1CZ) and on the grounds of Art. 65 (1), item 1 of Part IV Trading Rules of the Exchange’s Rules and Regulations, the trade in the issues of shares of the said companies is suspended until the end of the current trading session.
The stock exchange also announced that “with reference to a notification received by BSE-Sofia, as submitted by the Financial Supervision Commission, with regard to the start of proceedings for a compulsory measure imposing, on the grounds of Art. 65 (1), item 1 of Part IV Trading Rules of the Exchange’s Rules and Regulations, the trade in the issues of shares of CEZ Distribution Bulgaria (3CZ), CEZ Electro Bulgaria AD-Sofia (1CZ), Energo-Pro Grid AD-Varna (2EG) and Energo-Pro Sales AD-Varna (4ES) is to be suspended as of February 20, 2013 for three (3) business days.”
Borissov’s announcement came only an hour after the Supreme Administrative Prosecution asked SEWRC to revoke CEZ’s licence. The reason for the revocation is that CEZ failed to implement monthly electricity meter measurements – in October 2008, the regulator abolished quarterly measurements, which CEZ had lobbied for.
An investigation by prosecutors, covering the past 13 months, found that CEZ routinely took measurements at longer intervals of time, which was the main reason for the high electricity bills that have sparked nationwide protests against the electricity distribution companies, now in their second week.
SEWRC also found that CEZ failed to maintain the required power grid tension in some of the areas serviced by the company, according to reports in Bulgarian media.
In a statement on February 19, CEZ spokesperson Barbora Pulpanova said that the company had fulfilled all its legal obligations and rejected “wrongdoing that could theoretically lead to the starting of a procedure for revoking our licence.”