April 1, 2019 / 3:12 PM / 3 months ago

UPDATE 1-Eurohold bids for Czech utility CEZ's Bulgarian assets

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SOFIA, April 1 (Reuters) - Eurohold Bulgaria said on Monday it had filed a binding offer to acquire Bulgarian assets of Czech power utility CEZ, which earlier said it had also received an offer from India Power.

Bulgaria’s public holding company Eurohold, which is active in insurance and asset management, said its offer is not linked to other bidders and it will finance the purchase with its own funds and with the backing of leading western European banks.

“The intention to acquire CEZ Group’s assets in Bulgaria is part of Sofia-based holding company’s long-term strategy to penetrate in new regulated business segments that provide large opportunities for sustainable growth,” Eurohold Bulgaria’s management board member Vasil Stefanov said.

Energy prices are politically sensitive in the European Union’s poorest member state, where a 2013 spike in electricity bills toppled Prime Minister Boyko Borissov’s first government.

CEZ had been in talks with Bulgaria’s Inercom, but the country’s anti-monopoly regulator blocked a deal last July and Inercom filed an appeal.

In February 2018 CEZ signed a contract to sell a power distributor that provides electricity to more than three million Bulgarians, together with other assets in Bulgaria, to Inercom for an estimated 320 million euros ($359.10 million). ($1 = 0.8911 euros) (Reporting by Tsvetelia Tsolova and Angel Krasimirov Editing by David Goodman and Alexander Smith)

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