ČEZ Group is a conglomerate of 96 companies (including the parent company ČEZ, a.s.), 72 of them in the Czech Republic. Its core business is the generation, distribution, trade in, and sales of electricity and heat, trade in and sales of natural gas, and coal extraction. ČEZ Group operates also in Bulgaria, Germany, Hungary, Poland, Romania, Slovakia and Turkey. ČEZ, a.s. is listed on Prague Stock Exchange and Warsaw Stock Exchange.
ČEZ is the largest utility and biggest public company in Central and Eastern Europe. Its majority shareholder is the Czech government, owning 70% of shares. Its historical political activities have come under scrutiny. According to the Economist, “though nominally state-run, many see the power flowing the other way: from CEZ’s board into politics”. Capital Group Companies invested 2.98% into ČEZ Group. Since 2011, when Daniel Beneš have become CEO these calls faded out.
As of late 2010 the EU was investigating the company’s activities. Comments made by third parties under the market test have shown no need to materially change the commitments proposed by ČEZ to the European Commission in June 2012. Under the Settlement Agreement, ČEZ undertakes to sell one of five specific power plants with an installed capacity of at least 800 MW.
In January 2013 Albania started a dispute by removing CEZ license to operate in Albania. In June 2014 both parties agreed to settle a dispute. Albania will pay CEZ 100 million euros by 2018 in yearly installments, an amount roughly equal to CEZ’s initial investment.
In February 2013 Bulgarians began to mass protests against the company and two other foreign-owned power distributors, suggesting the government to follow the case of Albania. All three were fined by Bulgarian competition watchdog. However ČEZ said it had not breached Bulgarian and European laws and would launch an appeal against the ruling in court.
Under CEO Daniel Beneš (since 2011) CEZ Group presented and implemented its new strategy based on three pillars: I. Be among the best in the operation of conventional power facilities and proactively respond to the challenges of the 21st century. II. Offer customers a wide range of products and services addressing their energy needs. III. Strengthen and consolidate ČEZ’s position in Central Europe.
In 2015, ČEZ scored first in Deloitte CEE Top 500 according to market cap and forth in overall ranking and was elected overall winner of the 2015 Euromoney Best Managed Companies Survey for Central and Eastern Europe