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Warsaw Court Delays Ruling on PGE’s $3 Billion Power Project

The Warsaw Administrative Court postponed until Feb. 19 a decision on whether PGE SA, Poland’s largest utility, can start a 9.4 billion-zloty ($3 billion) project to build new units at its power plant in Opole.

State-controlled PGE last year signed a deal with Rafako SA, Polimex-Mostostal SA and Mostostal Warszawa SA for the 1,800-megawatt, coal-fired plant in southern Poland. The utility hasn’t been able to start the project after protests from ClientEarth, an environmental law organization. The Supreme Administrative Court overturned an earlier cancellation of an environmental permit in October and ordered the lower court to reconsider the case.

Polish state-controlled utilities plan to spend about 170 billion zloty by 2020 to replace aging facilities and comply with European Union regulations. The majority of coal-fired plants in the country, which relies on the fuel for about 90 percent of its electricity, are more than 30 years old. The projects are key for Polish construction companies hit by a slowing economy and shrinking funds from the European Union.

Malgorzata Koziel, a spokeswoman for PGE, declined to comment on the court’s delay when contacted by phone.

PGE shares declined 1.1 percent to 17.02 zloty at 5:09 p.m. in Warsaw, extending this year’s drop to 6.5 percent and valuing the company at 31.8 billion zloty. Rafako lost as much as 5.4 percent to 7.9 zloty, the lowest level since Nov. 19. Mostostal gained 1.8 percent to 15.47 zloty, while Polimex shares were unchanged at 0.55 zloty.

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