February 23, 2018 / 11:18 AM / 8 months ago

Bulgaria energy minister tenders resignation over CEZ deal

SOFIA, Feb 23 (Reuters) - Bulgarian Energy Minister Temenuzhka Petkova said on Friday she had tendered her resignation to the prime minister following media reports that she was linked to the owners of Inercom, a small company slated to buy CEZ’s assets in Bulgaria.

Czech power utility CEZ said on Thursday it had picked Inercom to take over an energy distributor that provides electricity to over 3 million people in northwestern Bulgaria, an energy trader and several renewable energy assets.

The head of the parliament energy commission Delyan Dobrev expressed concerns about the ability of the little known company to manage strategic power assets in the Balkan country with an annual revenue of about 1.8 billion levs ($1.13 billion).

The deal is estimated at about 320 million euros ($394 million) and Bulgarian opposition Socialists also expressed concerns about the selected buyer and its ability to finance it.

“I know these people for over 20 years. And because I do not want by any means these relations to be commented upon, to have any reasons for doubts about this deal, I have talked with the prime minister,” Petkova told reporters in parliament.

“The right thing to do when there is even the smallest doubt about some problems or some eventual influence, I think the worthy act is to tender my resignation to the prime minister. He will then decide what to do,” she said. ($1 = 1.5880 leva) ($1 = 0.8130 euros) (Reporting by Tsvetelia Tsolova, editing by David Evans)

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