* Poland blocks EDF sale of local assets
* Says decision driven by energy security reasons
* EDF says examines the reasoning
WARSAW, Dec 14 Poland has blocked the sale of
local heating and electricity assets by France's utility EDF
, citing the country's energy security, the Polish
energy ministry said on Wednesday.
EDF said Poland's objection meant it would not be able to
complete the sale of its Polish assets launched at the start of
"The decision was driven by considerations related to
Poland's energy security," a spokesman at the energy ministry
said, adding that the decision was issued on Dec. 9.
Poland's ruling conservative Law and Justice party (PiS)
wants the country to rely on its own energy resources or at
least not to be too dependant on foreign reserves. It has
already stepped up actions to reduce reliance on gas supplies
Poland put local heating assets owned by French EDF and
Engie on a list of companies deemed important for
energy security in order to be able to block their potential
In October EDF entered exclusive talks with IFM investors
over its heating plants and with the Czech Republic's EPH over
the coal-fired 1.8 gigawatt power plant in Rybnik, south of
Polish state-run utilities PGE, Enea ,ENAE.WA>,
Energa and PGNiG also submitted a joint bid
for EDF' assets, but it was not clear whether they entered the
In Poland, EDF owns five heating plants which hold a
15-percent share of the heating market. Its 1.7 gigawatt (GW)
coal-fired power station in Rybnik, in the south, generates
about 7 percent of electricity consumed in Poland.
"The EDF Group regrets this decision, which precludes it
from exercising its legitimate rights as a shareholder, in
particular the right to close the ongoing sale processes with
EPH and IFM," EDF said in a statement, adding it was examining
the reasoning underlying the refusal.
The sale of EDF's heating assets comes amid challenges to
Poland's electricity system.
The country needs to close some of its most outdated and
polluting coal-fuelled power stations and at the same time
struggles to secure financing to build new ones to avoid power
The decision by the energy ministry follows Poland's move to
scrap a multi-billion deal to buy helicopters from France's
Airbus, which already strained the relations between
the two countries.
(Reporting By Agnieszka Barteczko Editing by Jeremy Gaunt)