Bratislava selects advisor for Slovenske Elektrarne acquisition

By bne IntelliNews September 22, 2015

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The Slovak government has selected KPMG and SPP to advise it on a potential acquisition of an additional stake in power producer Slovenske Elektrarne (SE), according to press reports on September 22. 

Slovakia, which already holds a 34% stake in SE, has made it clear several times it wants to gain majority in the country's dominant power producer. This summer it launched a search for an advisor that will consult on the terms it should offer Enel, SE's majority shareholder, to buy a bigger stake. 

Slovak gas utility and pipeline operator SPP is owned by Bratislava and Czech-based energy holding EPH. The latter has been selected by Enel as the preferred bidder in the sale of another tranche of its stake in SE.   "Because it is necessary to consider all the facts comprehensively, professionally and from a number of perspectives, the analysis will be prepared through SPP's internal capacities and experts, and in collaboration with expert advisors from KPMG," SPP spokesperson Michal Holes told news portal vEnergetike.sk

Enel, which holds 66% in the Slovak utility, announced last year it planned to divest its Slovak assets. Under pressure from Bratislava, it agreed to sell the stake in at least two tranches. As requested by Prime Minister Robert Fico, the company now suggests it will remain a minority shareholder until the long-delayed and over-budget nuclear project at Mochovce is completed. 

As was long forecast by bne IntelliNews, in August Enel launched exclusive negotiations with EPH - which is controlled by senior figures from closely held Slovak financial group J&T - for the sale of its stake in SE. That would see it taking a minority stake alongside a state majority, an arrangement thought to have put off several other bidders. 

However, EPH already operates under a similar structure in SPP. It bought EDF Suez and E.ON out of their 49% stake in the Slovak gas utility in 2013. During that sale, Fico's government also put off bidders as it tried to regain management control from the minority shareholder. However, it dropped that condition when EPH took over, and later even took the loss-making distrubution arm off the energy holding's hands. 

The equity value of Enel's stake is thought to be around €900mn, according to Reuters. SE held €600mn in debt at the end of last year. 

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