The material on this site is for financial institutions, professional investors and their professional advisers. It is for information only. Please read our Terms & Conditions, Privacy Policy and Cookiesbefore using this site. Please see our Subscription Terms and Conditions.

All material subject to strictly enforced copyright laws. © 2022 Euromoney, a part of the Euromoney Institutional Investor PLC.

The politics of privatizing power

Those central and eastern European countries that have pushed furthest and fastest with privatization have benefited from healthy government finances, restructuring and modernization of key industries and enhanced economic growth. That’s undeniable. But privatization remains ever politically contentious. Selling their banking systems to foreigners was hard to stomach, and now these countries are selling even more essential services, their energy generators and power distributors. If they can maintain the political will, at least governments will find buyers in these sectors, unlike in telecommunications.

Alain Pilloux

Warsaw CHP, one of the largest district heating and electricity generating companies in Europe, has been in the private sector just over a year, since a majority of its shares were sold to Swedish power company Vattenfall for $250 million.

In many ways it was a model privatization. It was completed quickly. In contrast to some earlier sales, which had taken up to three years to finalize, there were less than eight months between pre-qualification and the final agreement. Vattenfall was also able to buy 55% of the shares, giving it actual as well as managerial control.

But it seems that this type of deal is now becoming increasingly difficult to negotiate. Vattenfall's recent purchase of electricity distribution company GZE was limited to 35%.

You have reached premium content. Please log in to continue reading.

Read beyond the headlines with Euromoney

For over 50 years, our readers have looked to Euromoney to stay informed about the issues that matter in the international banking and financial markets. Find out more about our different levels of access below.


Unlimited access to and

Expert comment, long reads and in-depth analysis interviews with senior finance professionals

Access the results of our market-leading annual surveys across core financial services

Access the results of our annual awards, including the world-renowned Awards for Excellence

Your print copy of Euromoney magazine delivered monthly

£73.75 per month

Billed Annually


Unlimited access to and, including our top stories, long reads, expert analysis, and the results of our annual surveys and awards

Sign up to any of our newsletters, curated by our editors


Already a user?