SOFIA, March 23 Bulgaria's Socialist party will
look at options for the country to buy back the Bulgarian assets
of Czech power utility CEZ if it wins the national
election on Sunday, its leader Kornelia Ninova said on Thursday.
The Socialists, who favour a bigger role for the state in
Bulgaria's economy, are running neck and neck with the
pro-market centre-right GERB party opinion polls show.
"My team will be looking into the budget to see if there are
possibilities to include the state in the acquisition talks for
CEZ's assets and buy them back," Ninova told commercial TV
channel NOVA, outlining her priorities if her party wins.
In January, CEZ said it was testing market interest for its
Bulgarian operations, including its electricity distributor that
provides power to over 2 million clients in western Bulgaria.
Ninova said she wanted the state to place a bid and compete
on equal grounds with other potential bidders.
CEZ acquired 67 percent stake in the power distributor in
western Bulgaria in 2004 after placing the highest bid of 281.5
million euros ($303.65 million) in a privatisation tender.
Bulgaria has sold many of its state-owned companies to
private investors during its slow transition to a market economy
after the collapse of communism in 1989.
($1 = 0.9270 euros)
(Reporting by Tsvetelia Tsolova. Editing by Jane Merriman)