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article imageCzech EPH to buy two power plants in Northern Ireland

By AFP     Apr 23, 2019 in Business

The Czech-based coal mining and energy group EPH, known for bucking Europe's green trend, said Tuesday it would buy two power plants in Northern Ireland.

The plants, a gas-fired facility in Ballylumford and a coal-fired one in Kilroot, have a total installed output of 1.4 gigawatts and are currently owned by the US-based AES Corporation.

"The acquisition includes a combined cycle gas turbine, a battery storage facility, open cycle turbines and a coal-fired power station," EPH said in a statement.

Ballylumford is the largest power plant on the island of Ireland, it added.

"The transaction is subject to EU merger clearance and is expected to close during the summer of 2019," EPH said, without disclosing the price.

In 2010, AES spent 102 million euros ($114 million) to purchase Ballylumford, though its value may have changed since then.

EPH is owned by Czech billionaire Daniel Kretinsky who also owns several French media outlets -- including a stake in the Le Monde broadsheet -- as well as the Sparta Prague football club.

As parts of Europe move away from polluting energy plants, such as powerhouse Germany which plans to eliminate power generation from coal by 2038, EPH is going the other way, relying on coal for much of its production.

The group is active in Britain, the Czech Republic, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Poland and Slovakia.

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