EDF chief warns bid for Iberdrola will be long haul

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EDF's possible takeover of Iberdrola, Spain's second biggest power firm, could take up to 18 months to complete.

5 February 2008

MADRID - EDF's possible takeover of Iberdrola, Spain's second biggest power firm, could take up to 18 months to complete, the French energy giant's top executive has cautioned.

In comments reported yesterday by France's Le Figaro newspaper, EDF chairman and CEO Pierre Gadonneix indicated that his partially state-controlled firm has no plans to rush into a takeover bid despite media reports last week suggesting that the French company is already in talks with Iberdrola shareholder ACS. Under the plan, the French utility and the Spanish constructor would carve up Iberdrola between them.

"We are talking with everybody and nothing has been decided yet," Le Figaro quoted the EDF chief as saying.

He appeared to suggest that EDF is treading cautiously in light of the Spanish government's hostile reception two years ago to a takeover bid for Endesa, Spain's largest power firm, by German conglomerate E.ON. Endesa was eventually sold to a consortium made up of Italy's Enel and Spain's Acciona.

"The Endesa case lasted two years, therefore you can easily count on 18 months for Iberdrola," Gadonneix was reported as saying. The EDF chairman refused to comment on which Iberdrola assets he likes, noting that "there are various possibilities." EDF is thought to be interested in Iberdrola's assets outside of Spain, including Scottish Power, while ACS is reportedly interested in its renewables.

[Copyright EL PAÍS / Ángeles Espinosa 2008]

Subject: Spanish news

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