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Bulgaria Completes Sale of Minority Stakes in 2 CEZ Units

Bulgaria completed the sale of minority stakes in two local units of CEZ AS, the largest Czech utility, for about 115 million lev ($76 million).

The state sold its 33 percent stakes in CEZ Razpredelenie Bulgaria, the power distribution unit, and in CEZ Electro Bulgaria, the grid operating unit, on the Bulgarian Stock Exchange, the asset-selling agency in Sofia said in an e-mailed statement today. Central Cooperative Bank AD was the manager.

The sold assets were the government’s last minority stakes in seven power distributors, which it sold in 2005 to Germany’s E.ON AG, CEZ and EVN AG in the run-up to joining the European Union.

CEZ controls the power companies that serve Sofia, the capital, and the northern city of Pleven, which together account for 41 percent of Bulgaria’s electricity consumers.

Bulgaria also sold minority stakes in the two units controlled by EVN for about 93 million lev 10 months ago and got about 70 million lev from selling minority stakes in the two companies run by Czech utility Energo-Pro last month.

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

Bulgaria, which weathered the global crisis without borrowing from international lenders, is working to cut the budget gap to 1.3 percent of gross domestic product this year, after a 2.1 percent deficit in 2011, to help contain the impact from the euro-area crisis.

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