The buyers of Vattenfall’s lignite operations, Czech energy company EPH and investment company PPF Investments, will run Vattenfall's German lignite operations “reliably, efficiently and to the very benefit of its employees while carefully balancing the environmental, social and economic implications in the region,” Jan Špringl, Member of the Board at EPH says.
EPH already owns lignite company MIBRAG with three lignite power plants and four open cast mines in Germany. Moreover EPH is the biggest gas distributor in Slovakia, the heating industry leader in the Czech Republic and has also subsidiaries in UK, Poland, Hungaria and Italy.
Why did you want to take over Vattenfall's Lignite operations?
“EPH is one of the leading energy companies in Central Europe with activities in seven EU countries. Predominantly we are operating significant energy infrastructure assets. The power generation fleet we operate is largely fully carbon free or low carbon intensive. Yet, especially for Germany, we see still a significant role of lignite as an important bridge technology. Based on our very positive experience in the 'Mitteldeutsches Braunkohlerevier' as owner of MIBRAG, we are convinced that EPH is ideally positioned to assume responsibilities related to the ownership of Vattenfall's lignite assets in Germany. While we will keep lignite operations in the Lausitz and in Mitteldeutschland as separate entities, there will be a lot both operations will gain from a tighter cooperation,” Jan Špringl says.
What will it mean for the 7500 employees of Mining & Generation?
“We are committed to run the Vattenfall's German lignite operations reliably, efficiently and to the very benefit of its employees while carefully balancing the environmental, social and economic implications in the region. The power generation industry is currently facing challenging times predominantly due to low wholesale power prices and market uncertainties. This situation is not sustainable on a long-term horizon. That is why we strongly believe that the prices will recover. Already a modest recovery of the energy prices coupled with low cost structure of efficiently run operations will change the picture significantly. Meanwhile, EPH with its financial partner PPF Investments are committed to reinvest the cash flows into the future of the company.”
What are your plans for the future?
“The direction taken by the German government under ''Energiewende'' is clear, impactful and was re-confirmed by the "Paris Environmental Conference" in December 2015. We embrace that direction. Notwithstanding these long-term political trends, we are committed to support the development of lignite in the Lausitz area. In close cooperation with the works council, trade unions, federal and local governments and communities we will seek a sustainable equilibrium of environmental and social responsibilities, while lignite will continue to make a significant contribution to energy security and overall economic welfare,” says Jan Špringl.