Energy company Vattenfall AB says it has received approval from the European Commission to sell its loss-making coal assets in Germany.

The Swedish state-owned company said Thursday that it expects the transfer to Czech energy company EPH and private equity group PPF Investments to be completed in the coming weeks.

The assets include four active mines and one former open-cast lignite mine in the eastern German states of Brandenburg and Saxony.

Vattenfall is also selling three coal-fired power plants and a 50 percent share in a fourth to the Czech consortium.

The Swedish company has been under pressure to stop producing energy from non-renewable forces, but environmentalists had hoped Vattenfall would shut down the coal mines and plants rather than sell them.