According to Montenegrin media, in September, state-owned power utility EPCG has obtained loans worth 48 million euros from two domestic banks in order to maintain liquidity, namely pay salaries to employees and pay its suppliers for delivered goods.
Reportedly, the company took 28 million euros loan from NLB bank and 20 million euros loan from CKB bank. It is not clear at which interest rate, but since EPCG recorded losses of over 60 million euros in the first eight months of the year, the interest rate could hardly be lower than 50 %.
The media reminded that in mid-2020, amidst the pandemic, the previous management agreed to secure a 50 million euros loan for maintaining liquidity from the European Bank for Reconstruction of Development (EBRD) with an interest rate of 2 %. However, the new management promptly terminated the loan agreement with the EBRD, stating that there is no need for such funds.
Officially, EPCG recorded a slight net profit in the first half of 2022, however, due to drought in the summer months and extremely high prices paid for imported electricity, the company plunged into losses, which stood at around 60 million euros in the first eight months of the year, 100 million euros if all companies within EPCG Group (distribution operator CEDIS, Pljevlja coalmine) are included.
EPCG replied with a statement in which the company states that it paid over 120 million euros for electricity imports during summer and was forced to obtain loans to maintain liquidity. Only a part of the available funds was used, while the remaining sum will not be used unless necessary.
The company reminded that it is heavily investing in solar projects, in order to mitigate the adverse effects of droughts in the future, because solar generation is most prominent during summer months.