Watchdog Clears Vekselberg to Buy 2 Power Producers

The Federal Anti-Monopoly Service said in a statement Friday that it had allowed Viktor Vekselberg's Integrated Energy Systems to buy control of power producers TGK-6 and TGK-7, but demanded that it sell some power stations.

"If IES Holding buys TGK-6 and TGK-7, it must in the course of one year sell stations ... whose combined generating capacity must be no less than 741 megawatts," the service said.

Forcing the sale of some stations is meant to keep IES from remonopolizing the market in the nine regions where TGK-6 and TGK-7 produce electricity.

The combined generating capacity of TGK-6 and TGK-7's power stations is more than 10,000 megawatts, so the forced sale will only dent IES's dominance of power production in the regions by some 8 percent.

The anti-monopoly service has often faced criticism from officials and market players for being toothless against the growing remonopolization of the power sector, which sector-wide reforms have sought to liberalize since 2003.

IES is emerging as one of the leading players in the liberalized power sector, moving toward vertical integration of fuel, generation and grid assets.

The reforms have sought to break up state monopoly Unified Energy System and create a free market where dozens of firms work independently in the production, distribution and sale of power.

Several large holding companies have, however, reconsolidated the assets split off from UES, threatening to undermine the reforms.