Spanish energy firm finds a German bidder

21st February 2006, Comments 0 comments

21 February 2006, MADRID – A surprise bid by a German energy company could put an end to the controversial takeover of Endesa by Gas Natural.

21 February 2006

MADRID – A surprise bid by a German energy company could put an end to the controversial takeover of Endesa by Gas Natural.

E.ON has offered EUR 29,100 million for the Spanish energy firm Endesa, 29.1 percent more than that bid in September by Bareclona-based Gas Natural - and approved by the government earlier this month.

E.ON is prepared to pay EUR 27.5 per share, EUR 6 more than Gas Natural. The offer is 7.9 percent more than the EUR 25.48 at which Endesa's shares closed at on Monday.

E.ON's offer is also in cash, which some experts said would exclude Gas Natural from making a counter offer. The Spanish company's offer was only EUR 7.34 per share in cash, with the rest offered in Gas Natural shares.

Endesa was on Tuesday expected to consider the German firm's offer a friendly takeover. The offer came after meetings between representatives from Endesa and E.ON in Madrid.

While Gas Natural has conditioned its takeover on owning 75 percent of Endesa's capital, E.ON's offer is conditioned on obtaining 50.01 percent.

E.ON said if the takeover goes ahead it will create a new energy division for southern Europe and Latin America with Madrid as the headquarters.

It is likely that the European Union will have the last say over whether the takeover goes ahead now that the proposed takeover is pan European.

However, the Spanish government is understood to hold a power of veto over ownership of the company as an ex-public entity. That veto is understood to be valid until 2007.

On Tuesday afternoon, the government said it respected the rules of the financial market but believed the interests of Spain would be better served by having a Spanish firm taking over Endesa, rather than a foreign one.

Although some critics had warned if Endesa and Gas Natural joined that would create poor competition in the Spanish energy market, the government has always insisted that a strong player would allow Spain to compete in the world energy market.

The government's approval of Gas Natural's bid went against the ruling of the Court for the Defence of Competition, which had said if the takeoever went ahead it would do "irreparable" damage to competition in the domestic energy market.

In the past, three previous attempted mergers between Spanish power companies have been blocked.

[Copyright EFE with Expatica]

Subject: Spanish news

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