ČEZ buys Škoda JS from Russian owners

20 June 2022

Czech energy giant ČEZ is acquiring the nuclear energy services firm Škoda JS from its Russian owners, a move which avoids the risk of sanctions having an impact on key supplies for ČEZ’s nuclear power plants.

Temelin, one of the nuclear power plants where ČEZ and Škoda have worked together (Image: ČEZ)

Škoda JS was a part of the industrial giant founded in 1859 by Emil Škoda - which also gave rise to the well-known automaker of the same name - so is originally a Czech company, but since around 2004 it has been part of OMZ, a Russian engineering group controlled by Gazprombanka.

Škoda has been working with ČEZ for many years, including in the area of nuclear fuel and maintenance of the primary circuit of nuclear power plants. ČEZ will also increase its stake in the UJV Rez research facility from 52.46% to 69.85%.

The transaction is being carried out in cooperation with Wood and Co, a financial and investment group which will hold the shares until the transaction is approved by the antitrust authorities.

A ČEZ statement explained: "This procedure will ensure that Škoda JS will no longer be threatened with sanctions immediately after signing the agreement and only after the antitrust authorities have given ČEZ group consent to take full control as would normally be the case."

Škoda JS has manufactured and supplied 21 complete nuclear reactors of the VVER 440 type and three reactors of the VVER 1000 type. Over the past 60 years it has built nuclear power plants in the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary and Germany.

Engineering, production and service share equally in the company’s revenues with exports accounting for about half of the company’s turnover. Annual sales are between CZK3.5 and 4.0 billion (USD149-170 million) and it employs more than 1000 people.

Škoda's general director František Krček said: "The change of ownership implies a new stage, in which we will be able to fully utilise our capabilities and experience on major domestic and international projects without the restrictions that were associated with the previous ownership structure.

"Given that ČEZ is a strong and well-established company on the market, this gives us a real opportunity to further develop Škoda JS."

Tigran Khachaturov, deputy chairman of the management board of Gazprombank, said the decision to sell "was made against the backdrop of sanctions restrictions and other legal risks imposed on the company, as a result of which there was a danger of stopping the enterprise with its subsequent bankruptcy. Thus, the transaction is aimed at returning Russian investments, as well as preserving the company and its workforce."

OMZ said proceeds from the sale "would be invested in the development of strategically important Russian assets and projects". The amount of the deal was not disclosed.

OMZ added that it "assumed that the preservation of Skoda JS will allow the company to continue fulfilling obligations under existing contracts in the framework of the operation, maintenance, modernisation and decommissioning and dismantling of nuclear facilities.

Researched and written by World Nuclear News