CEZ to buy 55.2 percent stake in GasNet

Czech utility and LNG importer CEZ said it had signed a deal to buy a 55.21 percent stake in compatriot natural gas distributor and LNG filling station operator GasNet from Macquarie Asset Management.

According to CEZ, the price tag of the deal is 846.5 million euros ($915.6 million).

The completion of the transaction remains subject to approval by the European Commission
and the Czech Ministry of Industry and Trade, and it is expected in second half 2024.

Besides Macquarie Asset Management’s 55.21 percent stake, GasNet’s shareholders include BCI with a 26.29 percent stake and Allianz with a 18.50 percent stake

CEZ noted that GasNet operates a 65,000 km long gas distribution network and distributes 66 TWh of natural gas per year.

This is about 80 percent market share in the Czech Republic, it said.

GasNet is also building a network of LNG fueling stations for trucks in the country.

Further strengthening gas position

Through this acquisition, CEZ Group is securing a strategic position in the transformation of the Czech heat generation industry and its transition away from coal-powered energy generation towards natural gas and later hydrogen, the company said.

“We’ve already acquired a significant capacity in two liquefied gas terminals in Germany and the Netherlands, and this acquisition of the country’s largest gas distribution system operator will further strengthen our position within the gas market,” Daniel Benes, chairman of the management board and CEO of CEZ said.

“We are acquiring assets important for the transition of the Czech heat and power generation sector to hydrogen; while increasing the proportion of regulated business within our portfolio for the benefit of our shareholders,” he said.

In November last year, CEZ booked long-term capacity at Hanseatic Energy Hub’s Stade LNG import terminal in Germany.

HEH just announced a final investment decision on the facility worth about 1 billion euros.

Starting in mid-2027, CEZ will import 2 bcm per year of LNG via the terminal near Hamburg.

The capacity at the terminal has been leased for 15 years, with an option to extend this to 25 years in connection with the future use of green hydrogen, according to CEZ.

CEZ previously booked regasification capacity at the LNG import hub in Eemshaven, owned by Gasunie and Vopak, and received the first LNG cargo via the terminal in 2022.

The company took 3 bcm per year of the terminal’s total capacity for a period of five years.

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