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Bringing MVM Group to the next level – interview with György Kóbor

Hungarian electricity group MVM is bringing to the table many projects. With the acquisition of energy company innogy SE and the booking of 6.75 billion cubic metres (bcm) of regasification capacity at the Krk LNG terminal, the Group is beginning to enter new markets.

CEENERGYNEWS spoke with György Kóbor, CEO of MVM Group, about the company’s role in Central and Eastern Europe, as well as the future regional energy mix.

Very recently, MVM Group acquired innogy SE’s entire electricity and gas retail business in the Czech Republic, which is currently supplying 1.2 million gas customers and 0.4 million electricity customers in the country.

“This transaction is truly a key milestone in MVM Group’s regional expansion strategy,” highlights Mr KóboR. “We are entering the exciting Czech market as an energy supplier, being responsible for more than 1.6 million clients. This means a valuable asset for us. We are fully committed to iCR’s customers and will continue to deliver the high service quality and value that they have come to expect.”

Mr Kóbor believes that this transaction will enhance the competition in the Czech energy market which can be advantageous for the Czech consumers.

“We look forward to working with the management to sustain and further develop iCR’s market position,” he continues.

This latest transaction is in line with MVM Group’s objective to expand beyond the Hungarian market and to become a leading energy player across the Central and Eastern European region.

“In the past years we have made our operation in Hungary more efficient, we have successfully reorganised several companies in MVM Group to make better use of the synergies between among our business lines than ever before,” Mr Kóbor explains.

“However, to a certain extent we reached our limits within the domestic markets, so we are aiming to enter other markets in the region.”

In this regard, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Croatia, Romania and Serbia can be considered as target countries.

“With our investments, we focus on group-level strategic value creation, which in our industry means that we tend to commit to long term relationship with our partners and customers,” he adds. “For example, another recent development was booking a significant stake of capacity in Croatia’s LNG hub, which was also a milestone for us and Hungary as well. It is a historical involvement regarding the long term future of natural gas supply sources and routes.”

Indeed, MFGK Croatia, subsidiary of MVM Group, booked LNG regasification capacity at the Krk LNG import terminal of 6.75 bcm from 2021 until 2027.

However, the challenge of implementing a single, unified electricity market in the region remains.

“This is a complex situation now,” comments Mr Kóbor. “Our regional focus lies on countries, which are subject to the implementation of the 4MMC project on the one hand, yet some other countries are not.”

“We believe that MVM’s regional presence would become an important part of linking these (CEE, SEE and western EU) regions.”

Moreover, earlier in March, MVM Group completed the transaction to acquire Mátra Power Plant, a major provider of electricity and the second-biggest power plant in Hungary. The Hungarian government declared the transformation of the lignite-fired power plant a priority development project that should comply with the country’s long-term climate goals of reducing carbon emissions.

“The renewal of the Mátra Power Plant with a technological change is an issue of strategic importance,” underlines Mr Kóbor. “For the coming period, until the completion of the network development tasks arising from the system integration of renewables, there is a big need for flexible production capacity. One of the most obvious solutions is the renewal of the Mátra Power Plant with new technologies.”

According to him, there are currently four directions. One is to install gas-fired units, another one is the implementation of an efficient waste incinerator. Then, MVM Group is planning significant solar capacities and lastly, it plans to count on an experimental technology, which is a carbon capture storage technology based on hydrocarbon gasification.

“We plan to keep the same volume produced, but with 75 per cent less CO2 emissions,” he reveals.

Apart from the Czech and Romanian market, MVM Group also is considering the Balkan region as markets with great potentials.

“We have real expertise in carbon-neutral power generation (including nuclear and photovoltaic energy), carbon-neutral mobility and smart solutions, so apart from pinpointing energy businesses with direct clients in the region we are obviously open for opportunities where we may have an advantage based on our expertise,” Mr Kóbor adds.

The CEO of MVM Group concludes saying that the company is well on track to meet its main priority of achieving one of the highest levels of financial and economic maturity, which is to bring the whole Group to the next level to be able to attract independent investors on the European capital markets.

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