UPDATE – Enel sees Endesa acquisition closing by September

Chief Executive Fulvio Conti of Italian power utility Enel says he expects Enel’s joint bid with Acciona for Spanish utility Endesa to close by August or September.

State-controlled Enel and Acciona, a Spanish builder, won permission July 5 from the European Commission to buy Endesa in a 42.5 billion euro (US$57.8 billion) deal. A day earlier, Spain’s utility regulator, Comision Nacional de Energia (CNE), approved the joint bid, applying certain conditions. (HNN 7/5/07)

Under European Union (EU) rules, the EU approval should be the last step before the companies merge. However, under Spanish law, the country’s stock market regulator still must issue its approval. Conti said that should occur by the end of July.

“We have always said that the offer will be completed by August or September,� Conti said. �We plan to meet the timetable.”

Enel and Acciona already control 46 percent of Endesa, Spain’s biggest power company.

Brussels is looking into conditions that Spain set on the deal, to see if they amount to interference in the EU executive’s sole jurisdiction over the bid. The commission said the planned takeover mainly affects the electricity sector, with very limited overlapping activities in electricity markets in Portugal, Germany, and Greece.

“However, taking into account the divestments to E.ON of part of Endesa’s activities, the only markets affected as a result of the planned transaction would be the generation/wholesale and retail supply of electricity in Spain,” the commission said.

German utility E.ON was able to buy the assets in return for pulling out of a takeover battle for Endesa. (HNN 4/4/07)

The Italian state owns 32 percent of Enel, and the most significant of the 12 Spanish conditions relate to that because of what CNE called “the control and special powers which the government of the Republic of Italy enjoys in Enel.” CNE said it reserves the right to veto board or shareholder meeting decisions made with the support of Enel when those decisions affect the public interest or national security.

Brussels said it would scrutinize those conditions, to see whether they broke EU rules by encroaching on its sole jurisdiction to review large cross-border deals.

Endesa, Spain’s leading electrical company, is a key utility in Chile, Argentina, Colombia, and Peru and has business in Brazil.

Enel is present in Spain with Viesgo, which has about 2,200 MW of installed capacity and with Enel Union Fenosa Renovables, active in the wind and hydropower sector. Enel is also a key player in Latin America for renewable energy, with operations in Panama, El Salvador, and Brazil.

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