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Poland wants to fully privatize all 4 power groups

Poland wants to fully privatize all of its four state-owned power groups -- PGE, Enea, Energa and Tauron -- Treasury Minister Aleksander Grad said on Monday.

“We expect the four energy groups to be fully privatized,” Grad told a business seminar. “We want to conduct the privatization in such a way that would not change the state monopoly into a private one.” Earlier the ministry said it planned to float shares of the power groups, including Poland’s largest electricity provider PGE, but wanted to retain a controlling stake in all of them. Because of companies’ nearly total reliance on domestic coal, as well as outdated distribution and production facilities, they will need to spend growing amounts of cash to buy carbon dioxide (CO2) permits to comply with the EU’s plan to limit greenhouse gases emissions.

Government talks on allocating Poland’s 2008-2012 annual quota of 208.5 million tons of CO2 between economy sectors have been delayed because the treasury and economy ministries differ from the environment ministry on the preferable split. Originally, the environment ministry wanted the energy sector to be hardest hit by the country’s emissions cuts, but other ministers warned it would cause another jump in electricity prices, already driving Poland’s inflation. “The Treasury thinks that the electro-energetic sector must have different (higher) CO2 limits, so the value of the power companies is not hurt days before the public offerings,” Grad also said. “But we are very close to reaching a deal on the carbon allocations with the environment ministry,” he added.

Earlier in April, a deputy economy minister said that the energy sector’s emissions will stand at 132 million tons, about 63% of the country’s entire limit. (Reuters)