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Germany does not want Vattenfall to sell lignite assets

World Coal,

Germany hopes to dissuade Sweden’s state-owned energy company, Vattenfall, from selling its lignite assets. The country’s economy and energy minister plans to travel to Stockholm to dissuade Vattenfall from putting its lignite power plants and mines in Germany up for sale, according to a document seen by Reuters.

Sigmar Gabriel, head of the Social Democrats and deputy to conservative Chancellor Angela Merkel said in an internal position paper that a sale of the lignite assets could threaten jobs.

"A breakup of this group as well as excessive price expectations would endanger the security of employment and the sustainability of the operating units," Gabriel said according to the document.

Vattenfall’s new CEO, Magnus Hall, said last month the company might put its German lignite assets up for sale – potentially fetching up to €3 billion.

Gabriel has stressed the fact that Sweden’s new prime minister, Stefan Lofven, is also a Social Democrat. Gabriel said a solution could be found that would satisfy both parties.

"I am sure that the Swedish government and Stefan Lofven are aware of their responsibilities," Gabriel said.

The move to travel to Stockholm would be somewhat unexpected, since German government traditionally steers clear of intervening in corporate affairs.

Vattenfall generates about 60 TWh/year from lignite, or about 10% of Germany's total power production. The company said it remains committed to other operations in Germany, including heat production, trading and wind power.

Edited from various sources by Sam Dodson

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