PRAGUE, Feb 11 (Reuters) - Czech electricity company CEZ looked set to agree a supply deal with Czech Coal for one of its most profitable plants, a CEZ spokesman said on Monday, suggesting it may not sell the Pocerady facility to meet European regulatory demands.
Central Europe's largest listed company has offered to sell a power plant to meet European Commission demands after an investigation into suspected anti-competitive behaviour. The 1,000 MW Pocerady was one of five plants up for a possible sale.
The deal would help conclude negotiations with the Commission and legal details were being finalised, CEZ spokesman Ladislav Kriz said, and 'on the general framework, concerning pricing and timeframe, there is an agreement'.
'I cannot say whether (a deal) is a question of this month or next month. But it is a question of the near-term,' he said.
He said the deal would cover the lifespan of Czech Coal's Vrsany mine, expected to be until about 2060, and that Czech Coal would have an option to buy Pocerady from CEZ at a later date if the energy group decides not to refurbish the plant or build a new unit there before its lifespan ends around 2024.
CEZ has relied on 10-day delivery agreements to supply Pocerady since failing last year yet again to agree a new long-term contract to start in January due to differences over price.
Uncertainty over prices beyond 2013 due to the long-running dispute forced CEZ to consider selling Pocerady last year.
A Czech Coal spokeswoman also said the two sides have moved closer to a final agreement. 'The negotiations have moved toward a positive result,' Gabriela Benesova said.
Kriz declined to confirm a report in newspaper Mlada Fronta Dnes on Monday that CEZ and Czech Coal agreed on a 20 percent coal price rise under the new agreement.
(Reporting by Jan Korselt; Editing by Louise Ireland) Keywords: CEZ CZECHCOAL/
(email@example.com)(+420 224 190 476)(Reuters Messaging: firstname.lastname@example.org)
Copyright Thomson Reuters 2013. All rights reserved.
The copying, republication or redistribution of Reuters News Content, including by framing or similar means, is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent of Thomson Reuters.