Italian utility Enel has pulled out of the bid process for control of the Czech power utility CEZ. The utility controls the Temelin nuclear power plant. Enel said that the government’s asking price of 200 billion Czech crowns for a majority stake in CEZ and six regional distribution companies was too high. The German company RWE is also shunning the sale. It will not become involved while Temelin is part of the deal.

Left without a likely Western investor/partner to help provide a route to export markets, CEZ has formulated a new strategy based on becoming a key Central European power player. It has taken the first steps by getting on the short-list for the privatisation of the Slovakia company Vychodoslovenka Energetika. It has also made public its ambition to buy into its Slovak counterpart Slovenska Elektrama.