Zapatero and Merkel agree end to Endesa row

13th September 2006, Comments 0 comments

13 September 2006, MEERSBURG — Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero and German chancellor Angela Merkel agreed an early end to the row over the bid for Spanish electricity giant Endesa.

13 September 2006

MEERSBURG  — Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero and German chancellor Angela Merkel agreed an early end to the row over the bid for Spanish electricity giant Endesa.

The Spanish prime minister and Merkel said the best interests for all parties would result from the bid by Germany's E.ON energy giant for Spain's Endesa.

The two leaders referred to the matter at the joint press conference they held at the end of their summit in Meersburg late on Tuesday.

Zapatero said that he had explained to Merkel that the Spanish Industry Ministry would deal with an appeal by E.ON over the matter "in the next few days".

He was referring to the appeal lodged by the German firm regarding the conditions imposed by Spain's National Energy Commission, or CNE, on the purchase of Endesa.

He added that the government wanted the resolution of the matter to be satisfactory for Germany, for E.ON "and, above all, for the interests of Spanish consumers and our energy model".

"I believe that ... the process ... will have a positive result that will foster better relations between Spain and Germany, in this case in the energy area," Zapatero said.

Merkel said: "There is a change in thinking about privatizations, and although it's something new, in the end the firms are going to make the proper decision and the European Commission is going to ensure the complete legality of the operation, and I hope that Spain has the same confidence (in that) as Germany."

E.ON offered to pay EUR 27 billion for Endesa, Spain's largest electric utility, in February.

The E.ON bid came after Spain's leading gas group, Gas Natural, launched a takeover bid worth EUR 22 billion bid for Endesa last September.

The Endesa management considers the E.ON offer to be better than the one made by Gas Natural because it provides a higher price, payment in cash and would maintain the company's current structure.

If it the E.ON-Endesa deal happens it would create the biggest electric and gas company in the world, with more than 50 million customers in over 30 countries and 107,000 employees.

Endesa was a state-owned company for decades until it was privatized in 1998.

The CNE voted unanimously in late July to conditionally approve the bid by E.ON, but both companies - and the European Union - have expressed concern about some of those requirements.

[Copyright EFE with Expatica]

Subject: Spanish news

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