Czech state power company ČEZ Group will become a sole owner of Czech nuclear energy company Škoda JS a subsidiary of Russian engineering group United Heavy Machinery (OMZ), controlled by Gazprombank, Škoda JS said on 20 June. Because of the current situation in Ukraine, both OMZ and Škoda JS are on the USA sanctions list, which would have impacted its ability to maintain key services and supplies for ČEZ’s NPPs.

Škoda JS is an original Czech company with local employees, and unique domestic know-how. It has a long tradition of business cooperation with ČEZ, mainly in the areas of nuclear fuel and maintenance of primary circuits of NPPs. Along with Škoda JS, ČEZ will also acquire Škoda’s shares in the science and research facility ÚJV Řež. This will increase the shares of ČEZ in ÚJV Řež from current 52,46% to 69,85%.

ČEZ is executing the complex transaction in cooperation with WOOD & Company, a leading investment bank, which will hold the shares until the transaction is approved by the antitrust authorities. “This approach will ensure that Škoda JS will cease to be endangered by sanctions immediately after signing of the transactions, while in normal circumstances this would happen only after ČEZ has received the approval from the antitrust authorities to take over the company,” ČEZ said.

Škoda JS is one of the leading European engineering and manufacturing companies with experience in the construction and servicing of NPPs. The company was founded in 1859 and it began developing its nuclear expertise in 1956. Since then, it has been continuously active in the sector, initially providing equipment for Soviet plants but following the Soviet collapse also began supplying equipment to Western plants. During its existence, the company has supplied capital units, equipment and service for NPPs, research reactors, and used nuclear fuel storage facilities in Central and Eastern Europe, Scandinavia, France, Germany, USA, Austria, Finland, Belgium, PRC, Armenia, and other countries. In 2004, Škoda JS became part of Russia’s OMZ. At the purchase, 42.16% of OMZ Public Joint-Stock Company was owned by its founder Kakha Bendukidze and his partners but in 2005, they sold their block of shares to a group of investors with Gazprombank's participation.

Škoda JS has manufactured and delivered 21 complete VVER 440 nuclear reactors and three VVER 1000 reactors. Since the 1990s, it has also focused on Western markets and technologies. It cooperates with the world’s leading companies in the field. Currently, engineering, production, and service contribute equally to the company’s sales, with exports accounting for approximately half of the company’s turnover. The company achieves annual sales of approximately CZK3.5–4 billion ($150-170m). Almost half of its sales are generated from the export of equipment and services. It employs over 1,000 highly qualified professionals.

WOOD & Company, founded in 1991, is a leading investment bank in the Central European market with offices in Prague, Bratislava, Warsaw, Milan, Bucharest, Dublin and London. The company focuses on providing services in the areas of corporate finance and capital markets, securities trading and asset management.