Czech Prime Minister Critical of Albanian Decision To Revoke CEZ License
Published January 22, 2013
Dow Jones Newswires
The Czech prime minister Tuesday said Albania's decision to revoke the business license of CEZ AS (BAACEZ.PR) casts a poor light on the country's treatment of foreign investors and could dash its hopes of Czech support for an eventual bid to join the European Union.
"The Czech Republic cannot ignore the [Albanian] approach to a Czech investor in the context of Albania's aspirations to integrate [into the EU]," said Petr Necas.
On Monday, Albanian authorities revoked CEZ's electricity distribution license. Last month, Albania said the Czech company owes the country up to $1 billion in damages for failing to import sufficient electricity and not investing in the country's electricity network. CEZ denies the allegations.
"The Albanian authorities revocation of the license of CEZ, the largest Czech investor in the region, is a very negative signal," Mr. Necas said.
The move, which strips CEZ of most of its rights as majority owner of Albania's largest electricity distribution company, casts doubts on Albania's supposed commitment to the rule of law and its hopes of one day joining the European Union, Mr. Necas added.
CEZ, 70% owned by the Czech state, took over the Albanian company in 2009, but has locked horns with the local regulator over a wide-range of issues such as differences on regulated power prices, CEZ's policy of shutting off power for unpaid bills and widespread power theft.
Read more: http://www.foxbusiness.com/news/2013/01/22/czech-prime-minister-critical-albanian-decision-to-revoke-cez-license/#ixzz2IjpdqIFH