Vattenfall to sell Swedish power grid: report
TT/The Local · 11 Nov 2009, 10:50
Published: 11 Nov 2009 08:25 GMT+01:00
Updated: 11 Nov 2009 10:50 GMT+01:00
- Vattenfall mulls new Swedish nuke plants (30 Oct 09)
- Sweden raps Vattenfall over recent scandals (23 Jul 09)
- Swedish power grid monopoly faces EU competition probe (23 Apr 09)
The sale is expected to bring in around 50 billion kronor ($7.3 billion). According to an internal document reviewed by TV4, Vattenfall wants to find a buyer by the end of the year, and close the deal before autumn 2010.
CEO Lars G. Josefsson is said to be the driving force behind the deal, which has prompted protests by other top managers at Vattenfall.
Deputy CEO Hans von Uthman has refused to endorse the deal and is set to lose his job as a result, sources tell TV4, although von Uthman refused to comment on the matter himself.
On Wednesday, the company confirmed in a statement that von Uthman would leave his post at the end of the year. However, spokesperson Mark Vadasz denied that the the move had any connection to the rumoured sale.
"He has not been fired," Vadasz told the TT news agency on Wednesday.
Around 850,000 households are connected to Vattenfall’s electricity network in Sweden, which includes poles, power lines, cables, and other equipment.
After first refusing to comment on the revelations on Tuesday, Sweden’s industry ministry offered a statement by spokesperson Johanna Martin several hours later.
“We won’t comment as these are questions for the company to answer. More information will be coming shortly from Vattenfall,” she told the TT news agency.
Martin confirmed that the ministry had been in contact with Vattenfall during the evening, although she refused to confirm that the company planned to sell its electricity network.
Around midnight, the company issued a short statement denying it had made a decision to sell the electricity grid. However, the statement made no mention of whether or not the plans existed.
“A company of Vattenfall’s size is always reviewing its assets, but there has been absolutely no decision to sell the network,” company spokesperson Mark Vadasz told TT.
The political opposition was quick to criticize the rumoured sale.
“If the information is true, it’s completely unacceptable. The electricity grid is an important part of the country’s infrastructure and the question must be addressed in the Riksdag,” industrial policy spokesperson for the Social Democrats, Tomas Eneroth, told TT.
On Wednesday, Vattenfall continued to deny the report.