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Gov’t acquires preemptive purchasing rights for E.ON Földgáz Trade shares

The Hungarian government signed an agreement with E.ON Földgáz Trade, the Hungarian gas-trade unit of German energy company E.ON AG, providing it with preemptive purchasing rights for E.ON Földgáz Trade shares in order to ensure the security of the country's energy supply.

Transport, Telecommunications and Energy Affairs Minister Péter Hónig, E.ON AG Vice President Johannes Teyssen and Imre Mártha of the state-owned power wholesaler MVM signed the agreement in the presence of Hungary's Prime Minister Gordon Bajnai.

The government will impose a special fee on retail gas in order to generate the funds necessary to reimburse E.ON Földgáz Trade by the end of 2010 for the HUF 60 billion (€211.98 million) in extra costs stemming from the government's cancellation last fall of the import-price correction of fluctuations in the value of the forint.

Hungary's government will furthermore help E.ON Földgáz Trade extend future long-term gas-procurement contracts and guarantee compensation for the unit's gas purchase costs.

E.ON pledged in the agreement to continue the company's planned €400 million power-plant investment in the vicinity of Gönyű (NW Hungary).

The deal also calls for MVM to examine the possibility of acquiring stakes in E.ON's Hungarian electricity-distribution units and participating in the company's Gönyű power-plant investment, while the German energy company will consider obtaining minority stake in the Dunamenti Erőmű power plant.

The agreement does not involve the other companies in MVM's electricity-industry portfolio, notably transmission-system operator Mavir, or the planned expansion of the Paks nuclear power plant. (MTI – Econews)