Citibank London and Generale de Banque SA, Brussels, are leading a $317 million loan for CEZ AS, the largest Czech utility.

The U.S. Export-Import Bank, Belgium's Office National du Decroire, and the Czech government are guaranteeing the loan, which will be used to finance the completion of Temelin, an unfinished nuclear power plant in the southern Czech Republic.

CEZ signed two nuclear supply contracts with Westinghouse Electric Corp. in May 1993. Westinghouse helped to arrange financing for the contracts, worth more than $400 million, which included the Export-Import Bank guarantees.

The Temelin project has encountered opposition from Czech environmental groups and from citizens and officials in neighboring Austria. Technical problems have also contributed to a delay in its start-up, now expected sometime in 1998.

- Lucie Bradacova, Bloomberg Business News

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