The Polish conglomerate Elektrim intends to conclude its plans for expansion and restructuring this year. Elektrim has ambitions to become a major western European player, and bought a 20 per cent stake in the Paks power station at the end of March.

The $87.9 million bid for a stake in Paks enabled the company to see off a bid by UK company National Power. Elektrim plans to invest a further $100 million within 12 months to raise its stake to 38.5 per cent. Paks, a lignite-fired power station, generates 11 per cent of Poland’s electricity. Elektrim is expected to invest $1 billion in Paks over 10 years under the terms of its agreement with the Polish treasury.

The sale of a stake in Paks is seen by observers as a major step towards the privatization of the Polish electricity sector. The sector is believed to require an investment of $15 million over ten years. Privatization is due to be completed by the end of 2001.