Serbia: Official Moscow is interested in buying Electric Power Industry of Serbia

26. June 2014. / News Serbia Energy

Privatization derby: Russians and Germans in the race for EPS

It is not a secret that the Russians are interested in buying the Electric Power Industry of Serbia and in the event that such an agreement be reached between official Belgrade and Moscow boss of one of the most successful Serbian companies would become a state energy company Inter Rao.

The story that the Russian state giant Inter Rao is interested in EPS have been actual for years. As a reminder, even in 2008th we signed an agreement on strategic cooperation between the company and EPS. Also then there were speculations that this meant the Russians wanted to buy EPS. As the Prime Minister of Serbia, Aleksandar Vucic has recently visited Germany and on that occasion in talks with the Chancellor Angela Merkel certainly was mentioned topic of EPS selling to German company RWE, it is logical that now Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov wants to put clear to Serbian state leadership that Russia does not give up its aspirations to buy EPS – says our source, a connoisseur of opportunity in the power sector, who wanted to remain anonymous.

According to him, both the Russian Inter RAO and Germany’s RWE are large companies that have the power to take EPS, but that there is no economic reason for it and that if the acquisition occurs, the reason will be completely political.

– Foreign capital, when coming to Serbia, aims to buy what is the best and most attractive for sale. EPS is one of the largest, most successful and most valuable companies that Serbia has and that is the reason why Russians and Germans want it. Therefore, both politically agitate to come up with that company. However, EPS is a “family treasure” of our country and it cannot be sold, nor allow any foreign company, nor German or Russian to manage it – categorically is our source.

He adds that it is necessary that EPS builds the strategic partnerships with foreign companies, but only through the joint ventures of building new generating plants.

– This means that Inter Rao, RWE and other foreign companies are welcome to build new thermal and hydropower plants in Serbia. It is preferable they to invest in these projects, to build new production facilities and to become their owners and sell electricity to EPS, with which they would be in partnership. So, one of the most successful Serbian companies, such as EPS is, needs a foreign strategic partner like this and not the boss – says our source.

As a reminder, in the media recently, before the visit of Serbian Prime Minister Aleksandar Vucic to Germany, have appeared the speculations that the company RWE was interested in buying EPS. Also, “Danas” has repeatedly written that in EPS leadership exist different opinions on the privatization issue. One “school of opinion” considers being indispensable to do it and to give the foreign partner the management right, and the second is of the view that the partnership should be achieved through the construction of new generating plants.

Antic: Lavrov did not ask for EPS

– I have no information that any Russian company is interested in buying the Electric Power Industry of Serbia and as far as I know, it was not a topic of conversation with Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov – told for “Danas” Aleksandar Antic, Minister of Mining and Energy of Serbia, on the occasion of unofficial statements that Russia is interested in buying EPS.

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