Russian Sberbank will provide a loan of €870 million to Slovakia’s dominant power producer Slovenské Elektrárne (SE), for 7.5 years.

“The successful conclusion of this contract is an important milestone in boosting the company’s financial stability and support to our growth plans in the central European region," Slovenské Elektrárne CEO Luca d’Agnese said after signing the loan contract on June 10.

“Energy has always been one of the key sectors of financing for Sberbank, and we are glad that we are expanding cooperation with one of the biggest global energy holdings, despite turbulent times experienced by the Russian economy,” said Sberbank CEO Herman Gref, as quoted by the SITA newswire. “We plan to continue boosting our cooperation with major European companies.”

SE is the biggest electricity producer in Slovakia. Since 2006, the Italian energy giant Enel SpA controls a 66-percent stake in it. The remaining 34-percent stake is in the hands of the government privatisation agency National property Fund (FNM), whose shareholder rights are executed by the Economy Ministry. SE operates an installed capacity of 5,737 MW at its plants. In 2013, the company supplied 20.9 terawatt hours to the national power grid. In late 2013, SE had 4,591 employees on its payroll. Sberbank completed the acquisition of Volksbank International (VBI) in February 2012. It has thus become the parent company of the Slovak Volksbank Slovensko that had operated on the Slovak market as Ľudová Banka until the end of October 2007.

Such a huge loan is exceptional for this region, especially when offered by a single bank, the Sme daily commented on the step, adding for comparison that a loan of the Slovnaft oil refinery, amounting to €200 million, was rendered by eight banks in total. Sme also speculated that the money lent would go for the purchase of nuclear fuel or technologies, as well as for the completion of the Mochovce nuclear power plant, the completion of which has been protracted, making the project ever more expensive.

J&T Bank analyst Michal Šnobr opined for Sme that considering the amount of the loan, Sberbank must have got an insight into all sensitive information like plans, costs or revenues of Slovenské Elektrárne.

(Source: SITA, Sme)
Compiled by Zuzana Vilikovská from press reports
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