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Bulgaria to Sell Minority Stakes in Local CEZ Units Oct. 29

Oct. 18 (Bloomberg) -- Bulgaria will sell the state’s 33 percent stakes in two local units of CEZ AS, the largest Czech power producer, on the Bulgarian Stock Exchange starting on Oct. 29.

The sale will be for 1,650 shares in the grid operating unit CEZ Electro Bulgaria and 63,624 shares in the power distribution unit CEZ Razpredelenie Bulgaria, the asset-selling agency in the capital Sofia said in an e-mailed statement today. The sale will be managed by the Sofia-based Central Cooperative Bank AD.

The government expects to raise at least 100 million lev ($67 million) from the sale, Privatization Agency Executive Director Emil Karanikolov said in an interview on Oct. 3.

The government sold its minority stakes in most of the seven power distributors in 2005 to Germany’s E.ON AG, CEZ AS and EVN AG in the run-up to joining the European Union. Bulgaria sold the minority stakes in the two units controlled by EVN for about 93 million lev nine months ago and got about 70 million lev from selling the minority stakes in the two companies ran by Czech utility Energo-Pro two weeks ago.

E.ON sold its Bulgarian companies to Energo-Pro last year.

Bulgaria, the European Union’s poorest country in terms of economic output per capita, weathered the global crisis without borrowing from international lenders. The government is working to cut the budget gap to 1.3 percent of gross domestic product this year from 2.1 percent last year to help contain the impact from the euro-area crisis.

To contact the reporter on this story: Elizabeth Konstantinova in Sofia at ekonstantino@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: James M. Gomez at jagomez@bloomberg.net

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