October 15, 2019 / 11:10 AM / a month ago

Eurohold defends its plans to buy CEZ's Bulgarian assets

SOFIA, Oct 15 (Reuters) - Bulgarian company Eurohold on Tuesday attempted to alleviate the concerns of the country’s competition regulator over its plans to buy Czech utility CEZ’s Bulgarian assets.

The Commission for Protection of Competition opened an in-depth inquiry into Eurohold’s 335-million-euro deal signed in June, saying it might give the new group a serious competitive advantage over the energy market in Bulgaria.

The regulator said that Eurohold, which has interests in insurance and asset management, has a significant share of the market in insurance guarantees, while some of CEZ’s Bulgarian companies are active in energy trade, which requires bank and insurance guarantees.

Eurohold filed documents with the regulator that highlight that its insurance companies do not have a leading market position in insurance guarantees and do not currently offer such guarantees to energy traders.

Eurohold said that if the deal gets approval from the regulator, the energy companies and the insurance companies will be related parties in a new group, and deals between such companies are restricted and even banned over a certain level under European Union and Bulgarian regulatory rules.

“That is why there is no way for the energy traders from the new group to get or receive any competitive advantage in the form of insurance guarantee from an insurer, part of the group,” Eurohold said in a statement.

The competition regulator has four months to complete its investigation. (Reporting by Tsvetelia Tsolova. Editing by Jane Merriman)

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