Australia’s Macquarie Asset Management (MAM)-led consortium of investors has started the sale process for the Czech Republic’s natural gas distributor GasNet.

A potential deal could value the natural gas distributor at tens of billions of Czech crowns, reported newspaper Hospodarske Noviny via Reuters, citing four unnamed sources.

The sale of GasNet could attract bids from potential buyers and investors.

GasNet holds around an 80% share in gas distribution in the Czech Republic. The 65,000km of gas pipelines cover all the regions except Prague and South Bohemia.

Serving 2.3 million customers, the company manages and runs the gas distribution network.

In 2022, the Czech Republic’s natural gas distributor reported a net profit of $86m (Kč1.89bn) on revenue of $651.63m.

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GasNet was acquired in 2013 by a consortium of investors including Macquarie Asset Management, British Columbia Investment Management Corporation and Allianz Capital Partners.

Acquisition experts said infrastructure funds could show interest in purchasing GasNet.

The sale could also draw interest from Czech investors including billionaire Daniel Kretinsky.

Last year, GasNet announced plans to increase the hydrogen share in its gas network in the Ústí region by agreeing to cooperate with FOR H2ENERGY.

FOR H2ENERGY plans to build a hydrogen production plant in the Triangle industrial zone in Žatec.

GasNet network operational management director Andrej Prno said: “It [hydrogen] is a green gas that will reduce emissions, help cover future energy needs of the Czech Republic and will strengthen our energy self-sufficiency. In the case of projects such as that of FOR H2ENERGY, we will produce it directly in the country.”