National Power pays pounds 100m for Czech generating stake

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The Independent Online
National Power yesterday extended its international operations further by paying pounds 100m for a stake in the Czech power generating industry.

The company, Britain's biggest electricity producer, is taking a 48 per cent holding in Elektrarny Optavice (EOP), which has interests in seven generating plants with a total capacity of 825 megawatts.

The deal takes National Power's investment in overseas generating capacity to more than pounds 1bn. It now has interests in 8,500 megawatts of capacity in eight countries outside the UK. It expects its overseas earnings to rise from pounds 74m in 1996-97 to pounds 145m in the current financial year. Almost a quarter of its 4,000 staff are now employed abroad. Keith Henry, National Power's chief executive, said the latest investment would provide it with a significant presence in the growing Czech electricity and co-generation markets and would open the way for it to build up a portfolio of plant in the country.

EOP is listed on the Prague stock exchange and its other main shareholders include Czech municipalities with 24 per cent.

Last year National Power spent pounds 670m overseas, its main investment being to take a majority stake in the Australian generating group Hazlewood.

Investment this year will not reach that level although National Power has identified overseas projects worth pounds 1.5bn and expects annual investment outside the UK to run at pounds 300m-pounds 600m a year.

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