Vattenfall to sell German coal power plants to Czech firm EPH


PRAGUE (AP) — Swedish energy producer Vattenfall AB has agreed to sell to a Czech company its four German coal plants and its lignite mining assets, an effort to make its operations more environmentally friendly.

The Swedish company will sell the assets to Energeticky a prumyslovy holding, also know as EPH.

"We want to reduce our CO2 exposure, so for us this is the right thing to do and it frees up resources to focus more on renewable energy," Vattenfall's CEO Magnus Hall said in a statement Monday.

"This divestment of our lignite assets is good strategically but also financially given current and expected market conditions," Hall said. "We are now accelerating our shift towards a more sustainable production. The sale means more than 75 percent of our production will be climate neutral compared to about 50 percent today."

Vattenfall had made large write-downs on its operations in Germany. The Swedish government has also pressured the company to exit its coal-fired power generation in Germany.

EPH was bidding to buy the plants and mines together with PPF Investments, a private equity group.

Vattenfall said its owner, the Swedish government, still has to approve the deal, which is expected to be finalized in a couple of months.

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