Poland insists Energa IPO will happen in first half of the year

By bne IntelliNews February 14, 2013

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Poland's treasury ministry reiterated on February 13 that it plans to float a minority stake in utility Energa in the first half of the year as the next step towards its target of raising PLN5bn from privatisation in 2013, despite falling behind schedule in selecting advisors for the float.

Deputy Treasury Minister Pawel Tamborski told reporters that the plan to IPO a stake in Poland's fourth-largest utility is still on track for the middle of the year, despite an apparent delay of up to a month in hiring bookrunners for the float.

"We maintain that the selection of consultants will be in February. I think that is going to happen next week," Tamborski said according to PAP. However, announcing the initial plan to IPO Energa on January 18, the same official said the treasury planned to have advisors in place by the end of the first month of the year.

"We want to pick advisers for the Energa IPO by the end of January," Tamborski said at the time, as he announced the plan to run an IPO and then select a strategic investor for the remainder of the company. "Our advisers will help determine the structure of the transaction to reflect the attractiveness of the company, whose focus on the distribution business helps it stand out in the industry."

Up to 22 banks have applied for the role, according to the state newswire, with Warsaw planning to select a consortium of several companies. Linklaters' local office has already been hired as legal advisor.

Clearly with an eye on the hunt for a strategic investor, Tamborski also revealed in his latest comments that the treasury is unlikely to allow its remaining holding to drop below a controlling stake. "I do not think we will go below a 50% stake in Energa," he said. "In theory the initial public offering could include a new share issue, but there is no decision yet." The ministry currently holds 85% in the utility.

The official was speaking at the Warsaw Stock Exchange as PHN made its debut with a welcome gain of 7.4% to PLN23.62. The real estate holding was forced towards the bottom of its pricing range earlier this month as the treasury finally managed to get away an IPO of a 25% stake at the third time of asking, following two pulled attempts in 2012. The key to getting the sale away at last was to chop it into bite-sized chunks. As with Energa, the treasury next plans to select a strategic investor. According to forsal.pl, CEO Wojciech Papierak said that process should be completed this year.

Poland decided to float the stake in Energa after regulators blocked a planned sale to another state utility, PGE, for PLN7.5bn in 2009. The treasury says it will favour a strategic investor for the company that already has significant assets in Poland.

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