Paris / Prague The Czech Investors' Group Daniel Křetínský from the Energy and Industrial Holding (EPH) is interested in buying two of the last two coal-fired power plants in France. Referring to his sources, the French daily Le Monde wrote on Thursday. Officially, no group confirmed it. Křetínský recently bought a stake in Le Monde.
"We are not commenting on speculation about our alleged intentions," EPH spokesman Daniel Castave said on Thursday.
According to Le Monde, Křetínský wants to acquire the French property of the German group Uniper, which mainly manages the coal-fired power plant in Gardanne in the south of the country and the second in Saint-Avold in the east. There are two gas stations in Saint-Avold, the diary said.
Křetínský bought a part of the company that controls the French Le Monde. His work in the magazine is minimal
"The Czech billionaire Daniel Křetínský explains his interest in investing in Le Monde, in particular by promoting" support for the press ". In his opinion, no leverage for investing in the energy sector in France was required, but this does not prevent the EPH, the presiding group from looking for opportunities in the French market, "writes the letter.
He referred to previous speculation that Křetínský's interest in the document is actually an attempt to penetrate the French market and to find a state stake in Engie's energy. Křetínský himself himself recently excluded in an interview with the French newspaper Les Echos.
According to Le Monde, Uniper in France owns several solar and wind power plants and one electricity supplier for small and medium-sized enterprises.
"EPH is not the only bidder, interest has been shown by several investment funds and the battle is not over yet," the daily said.
He also warned that Uniper and other coal-fired power plants in the country will have to close until 2022, when President Emanuel Macron was executed during the election campaign, and the Environment Minister confirmed in October the closure plan. "This policy decision and uncertainty about compensation are likely to reduce asset prices," Le Monde said.
In his opinion, the new owner has the power to shut down the power plant or to transform it. For example, Gardanne has invested in biomass over the years, and the plant in Saint-Avold wants to switch to gas.
In the energy sector in France, the giants Total, Engie and EDF are predominant. Křetínský said that he does not see great opportunities for his group in France and that he does not intend to participate in the privatization of Engie's work, which is expected to occur in the coming months, nor would he enter the GRTGaz in the capital, Le Monde said.
"But this does not stop him from thinking about the future. According to our information, Daniel Křetínský met Patrick Pouyanne, General Director of Totale, and talked with him about the future of Engie in the event of a division of the group," Le Monde wrote. But this scenario remains a fiction. "Pouyanne, in all honesty, he excluded the possibility of participating in such operations, "the journal concluded.