Bulgaria’s Eurohold appeals against watchdog decision barring deal for CEZ assets

Bulgarian insurance and asset management group Eurohold Holding said on November 12 that it has lodged an appeal against the Commission for Protection of Competition (CPC) decision that barred it from buying the Bulgarian assets of Czech utility company CEZ.

“Eurohold intends to actively pursue its strategy for developing a leading regional utility company within the holding following the model of Euroins Insurance Group, one of the leading insurance groups in Southeast Europe. The company keeps its interest in the acquisitions of companies in the energy sector as it sees potential for diversification of its portfolio,” the group said in a statement.

The appeal was filed in Sofia Administrative Court, with CEZ similarly taking “administrative measures” against the watchdog’s ruling, Eurohold said.

In its decision, handed down last month, CPC said that the transaction would create conglomerates in Bulgaria’s insurance market and electricity sector, which would “significantly increase the market power of the concentrating companies, which will be able to operate substantially independently of their competitors.”

Eurohold Holding said on June 20 that it had agreed to buy the Bulgarian assets of CEZ for 335 million euro. For its part, the CEZ board approved the sale of the group’s assets in Bulgaria, which include the electricity distribution company that services the western part of the country and the capital city of Sofia, in February 2018.

But its initial chosen buyer, Bulgarian firm Inercom, raised loud objections among Bulgaria’s politicians, given the company’s small scale, and questions about how it would cover the acquisition price. CPC blocked that deal in June 2018, leading CEZ to seek other buyers at the start of this year.

(Photo: Petr Kovar/freeimages.com)



The Sofia Globe staff

The Sofia Globe - the Sofia-based fully independent English-language news and features website, covering Bulgaria, the Balkans and the EU. Sign up to subscribe to sofiaglobe.com's daily bulletin through the form on our homepage. https://www.patreon.com/user?u=32709292