Enel’s Slovak Nuclear Project Faces More Delay, Higher Costs

Enel SpA’s nuclear project in Slovakia will miss its latest deadline and face higher costs at a time when the Italian utility is preparing to sell its unit in the country, a government official said.

Slovenske Elektrarne AS, 66 percent-held by Enel, will have a “certain delay” in the already extended deadline set for the end of 2014 to put the first of two new reactors at the Mochovce plant into operation, Economy Minister Pavol Pavlis told reporters today in Bratislava, Slovakia. The company also sees a “certain increase” in the project’s budget, he said, citing a new analysis prepared by Slovenske.

Enel wants to sell its Slovak and Romanian assets to reduce its debt by 4.4 billion euros ($5.9 billion). Slovak Prime Minister Robert Fico, an opponent of asset sales carried out by previous administrations, has said missing the 2014 deadline would be “intolerable.” Enel bought a majority of the country’s largest generator for 840 million euros in 2004.

The 880-megawatt project has been plagued by delays and cost overruns following the Fukushima 2011 nuclear disaster, which forced utilities to adopt costlier safety standards.

Earlier this year, Enel won approval from the Slovak government, which holds the rest of Slovenske, to boost the Mochovce budget to 3.8 billion euros from 2.4 billion euros envisaged in 2007.

Before it's here, it's on the Bloomberg Terminal.