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Romania puts on hold sale/purchase of energy cos during state of emergency

 Romania has suspended the sale and purchase of majority stakes in energy companies as of April 10 until the end of the state of emergency declared to limit the coronavirus spread, the interior ministry said on last Friday.

"During the state of emergency, the procedures for selling/buying majority stakes in companies which are part of the national energy system, regardless of the form of their ownership, are suspended," the interior ministry said in an ordinance published in the official gazette.

The sale and purchase procedures will be resumed after the state of emergency is lifted. 

The suspension comes halfway through the procedure for the sale of Czech energy group CEZ' assets in Romania.

"The first stage of the sales process was completed by acceptance of 19 non-binding offers. Submission and evaluation of selected binding offers is expected in Q2 2020," CEZ said in its 2019 annual financial statement issued in mid-March.

According to CEZ, the deal includes but is not limited to its electricity distribution and sales company and the Fantanele and Cogealac wind parks.

Also in March, Romanian hydro-power producer Hidroelectrica said it will seek the approval of its shareholders on April 14 to submit a final bid for CEZ' local assets. The company will also ask its shareholders to approve the possibility of taking out a loan in order to finance the acquisition.

In December, Hidroelectrica said it has started procedures to take over assets owned by multinational energy group Enel in Romania. The potential sale of Enel's assets in Romania was reported by local and international media earlier this year but there has been no official communication from the company on the matter so far.

On Monday, Romania's president Klaus Iohannis said that he has decided to extend the state of emergency by a month, until the middle of May, with the respective decree to be issued next week.

Romanian authorities originally declared a 30-day state of emergency on March 16 in order to be able to tackle the coronavirus disease outbreak more efficiently.