Atel expands in Hungary and the Czech Republic

Atel, the energy services provider, is to expand its presence in Central and Eastern Europe by acquiring from NRG Energy Inc., an American energy company, two power generating facilities and an electricity trading business based in Hungary and the Czech Republic.

These acquisitions, won by Atel against strong international competition, have a total transaction value of approximately 780 CHF million. Atel will acquire 100 % of the Csepel power station complex in Hungary, for the time being a 44.5 % ownership interest in ECKG power station and a 75 % stake in Entrade, a trading company, both in the Czech Republic. The Csepel site comprises a 390 MW gas turbine power generating station and a 116 MW thermal power station for supplying district heating to Budapest. The ECKG power generating plant in the vicinity of Prague comprises a coal-fired 250 MW power station and a 67 MW gas-combi electricity generating plant plus a 173 MW thermal plant. Csepel and ECKG operate state-of-the-art power stations commissioned in 1999 and 2000 as well as two slightly older reserve plants. Prague-based Entrade, an energy trading company, sold 8 billion kWh of electricity in 2001. The company concentrates on power marketing and trading activities in Central and Eastern Europe. All three companies employ over 400 people in Hungary and the Czech Republic. In 2001 the total turnover of the three companies was approximately CHF 650 million along with a cash flow of approximately CHF 150 million.

Pursuing the Atel strategy Over the last few years, Atel has built up an important market position in the growing energy markets in Central and Eastern Europe. These acquisitions in Hungary and the Czech Republic will considerably boost Atels business opportunities in this region. The newly acquired power stations will supplement and support its energy trading and marketing operations. This recently concluded transaction is a logical continuation of the strategy also adopted by Atel in Italy, where an interest in a series of power stations was acquired from the Edipower consortium earlier this spring. In Italy Atel has at its disposal approximately 1200 MW. The acquisition of the Entrade trading company also fits in very well with the Atel sales strategy in Central and Eastern Europe, and in the Balkan countries.

The contract for the acquisition of the companies was signed in London on 10 September 2002. The vendor is the American energy company, NRG Energy Inc. The acquisition still has to be approved by the appropriate fair trading authorities, what should be done until the end of the year. Atel was advised on this transaction by UBS Warburg. 

Aare-Tessin Ltd. for Electricity Corporate Communications

Note to editors: We provide below three texts about the companies in Hungary and the Czech Republic, plus two brief portraits of NRG and Atel. Various digital photos of the power stations are available from our press office.

Csepel Csepel lies 5 kilometres to the south of Budapest and comprises two power stations. The Csepel II plant is one of the Hungarys most modern gas power stations. It has a capacity of 390 MWe (electrical megawatt), was commissioned in 2000 and is based entirely on Western technology. Csepel I is a thermal power station dating from 1980. Renovated in 1984, this station has a capacity of 116 MWth (thermal megawatt) and supplies district heating to Budapest. Csepel I and II employ 90 people between them.

ECKG The ECKG/Kladno power station complex is located around 25 kilometres outside Prague and consists of three individual plants. All three stations are designed to produce electricity by means of steam extraction. The 250 MW coal-fired power station was built by ABB/Alstom and commissioned in 2000. The second, slightly older coal-fired power station has been modified to bring it into line with the latest environmental requirements. With a capacity of 173 MWth and 27 MWe, it now serves as a thermal power station and reserve power station. The third station is a modern gas-combi power station dating from 1999 and is used as a balancing power station with a capacity of 67 MWe. The three stations employ a total of 310 people.

Entrade Entrade is an electricity marketing and trading company based in Prague with offices in Berlin and Ljubliana. Entrade employs a staff of 34, of which 27 are based in Prague, and concentrates its activities on Central and Eastern Europe and the Balkans. Last year Entrade traded around 8 billion kWh of energy and generated sales of CHF 310 million.

NRG Energy Inc. Based in Minneapolis (USA), NRG Energy is a leading energy company and one of the worlds largest energy producers. NRG is a subsidiary of Xcel Energy. Established in 1989, NRG operates a wide portfolio of power stations throughout the world, e.g. in North and South America, Europe, Asia and Australia. The company is currently cutting back on all its activities outside the USA. 

Aare-Tessin Ltd. for Electricity, Atel Atel is Switzerlands leading energy trading company. In 2001, it generated sales of CHF 4.24 billion and sold around 53 billion kWh of electricity. Atel trades electricity throughout Europe, operates its own power stations and supplies power to various countries via its own sales companies. Established in 1894, Atel is listed on the Swiss stock exchange in Zurich. The biggest shareholders include Motor-Columbus (56.7 %), EBM (13.2 %), EBL (7.5 %), EVN (6.9 %) and canton Solothurn (5 %). Around 10 % of the shares belong to a large number of small investors.