News Digest Item
26 Mar 2018

Belgium’s Elia increases ownership in German grid operator 50Hertz

Reuters / Green Party parliamentary group

Belgian transmission system operator Elia will exercise its pre-emptive right to buy a 20 percent stake in German power transmission grid operator 50Hertz for 976.5 million euros, beating the State Grid Corporation of China (SGCC), reports Reuters. The Chinese company’s interest had been watched critically by German politicians, who feared a sell-out of critical infrastructure. Elia’s purchase “is a strong signal to bring the energy transition forward in Germany as well as in Europe,” said 50Hertz Chief Executive Boris Schucht in a statement. The purchase brings Elia’s ownership in 50Hertz to 80 percent.
Ingrid Nestle, spokesperson for energy economics of the Green party’s parliamentary group, commented that the process showed that the German government lacked the legal instruments needed to prevent the takeover of critical infrastructure by foreign companies. Only talks behind the scenes had convinced Elia to buy the stake. “With a German grid company in place, the federal government would be able to decide about its own grid,” writes Nestle in a statement.  

Read the article in English here, and Elia’s press release in English here, and 50Hertz’s press release in English here.

See the CLEW dossier The energy transition and Germany’s power grid and the article Sino-German tandem: Export champions promote global energy transition for background.

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