SOFIA, March 23 (Reuters) - 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)