RWE says NET4GAS sale decision still in pipeline

German energy giant RWE says decision on sale of its Czech pipeline company still pending, will shelve local power plant project

The company running the Czech Republic’s biggest natural gas sales, distribution and pipeline operation downplayed reports that its German parent company had decided to sell off its gas pipeline company, NET4GAS, as part of far-reaching corporate disinvestments.

Czech business daily E15 reported Tuesday that RWE Transgas board chairman Martin Herrmann had confirmed that German parent company RWE would sell the Czech pipeline company. RWE and RWE Transgas later said that no final decision on the fate of the NET4GAS unit had been taken.

‘One of the options on the list of assets which RWE considers to divest part or all of by 2013 is NET4GAS, the operator of the Czech gas transmission system.’

“One of the options on the list of assets which RWE considers to divest part or all of by 2013 is NET4GAS, the operator of the Czech gas transmission system,” RWE Trangas said in response to questions from Czech Position.

“The final decision on selling the company or parts of it has yet to be made, but group management has already said that it might consider the same sales mechanism as in the case of Amprion — a company sold to investors from the ranks of pension funds, who are always on the lookout for investments that pose a minimum of risks and a guaranteed return on the investment,” the company added.

Amprion, which operates 11,000 kilometers of Germany’s high-voltage electricity transmission system, has a similar business model to pipeline operator NET4GAS with solid but unspectacular returns from a highly regulated business. Both have also been subject to pressure from Brussels to separate their trading and transmission businesses.

RWE, under severe financial pressure following Germany’s decision to exit nuclear power by 2022, announced in early August that it had upped its target for its divestment earnings from the original €8 billion to €11 billion by the end of 2013.

As well as the possible sale of Net4Gas, RWE is considering the sale of its 24.95 percent stake in international water and waste water company Berlinwasser, natural gas exploration and development company RWE Dea and selected German sales and network activities, the company said.

Gas power plant

Separately,  RWE Transgas confirmed that it suspending a project to construct its first gas-fired power plant in the Czech Republic. The project on the outskirts of Prague has run into local opposition. RWE said the current focus was on gas-fired plants in Poland and Turkey, but it wants to keep the option open to implement the Czech project. “The project is fully prepared for implementation, we own the relevant plots and the EIA (Environment Impact Assessment) is ready as well,” the company said.