Sweden backs sale of German coal mines to Czech group

Sweden's Social Democratic government says it is endorsing the sale of state-owned Vattenfall AB's four coal mines and its mining assets in Germany to Czech investors.

Enterprise and Innovation Minister Mikael Damberg said Saturday "we endorse the deal."

In April, Czech energy company Energeticky a prumyslovy holding, or EPH, signed an agreement to acquire the Swedish state-owned utility's loss-making assets in Germany. EPH made the bid together with PPF Investments, a private equity group.

The Swedish company seeks to shift its energy strategy. Vattenfall had made large write-downs on its operations in Germany.

Environmentalists have called on Sweden's government to stop the sale and dismantle the coal assets to prevent climate-warming CO2 emissions.