Sweden sells German coal mines to Czech investors

Sweden sells German coal mines to Czech investors

The Swedish government has approved a plan by a state-owned enterprise to sell its four German coal mines and assets to Czech investors.

Vattenfall AB’s lignite operations found in the Lausitz region of eastern Germany will be sold to Czech energy company EPH and its financial partner PPF.

According to Enterprise and Innovation Minister Mikael Damberg, the plan to sell them was better than operating them at a loss.

“The deal is of strategic importance for the company and that it is financially best option,” stated Damberg. “The value of selling is higher than to keep and continue operating the business.”

Vattenfall operates 17 large coal-fired plants located in Germany, the Netherlands and Denmark with a capacity of around 12GW.

EPH is a leading Central European energy group operating the largest pipeline in the EU, the biggest gas distributor in Slovakia and the second largest Czech electricity producer.

Germany has been forced to increase its coal operations over the past years due to it moving away from nuclear power.

Local residents are protesting due to the potential for increased pollution, but many others support the lignite or ‘brown coal industry’ for the estimated 25,000 jobs it will create in Lausitz.

Jan Kowalzig, climate change adviser at Oxfam Germany said the government “is spurning the landmark treaty on climate change adopted last year in Paris,” and that the sale is a “failed attempt to clean up Vattenfall’s dirty environmental record.”