Czech power utility CEZ net profit down in Q1, proposes record dividend

PRAGUE (AP) — The Czech dominant power utility CEZ said on Thursday its net profit in the first quarter of the year was 10.8 billion Czech crowns ($505 million), 60% less than a year ago.

At the same time, the board of directors has approved a proposal for a record dividend of 117 Czech crowns per share for the company’s annual shareholder meeting on June 26.

That came after CEZ reported in March net profit of 80.7 billion Czech crowns in 2022, eight times as much as the previous year.

The country’s main electricity producer attributed the massive increase to an “enormous rise in prices” caused by the Russian invasion of Ukraine, and to higher profit from commodity trading on foreign markets and also high operational reliability in its power plants.

The Czech state, which has an almost 70% stake in the company, will receive in 2023 more than 100 billion Czech crowns from CEZ in dividends, income taxes and levies on production sales, including a windfall tax on profits introduced as prices for energy soared.

CEZ attributed the first quarter result to a decrease in operating profit and the new windfall tax.

“The financial results for Q1 are in line with our estimates and reflect a gradual stabilization on energy markets,” CEZ chief executive Daniel Benes said.

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