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Fortum on acquisition trail

Finland’s Fortum‘s CEO says the company is keen to make a sizeable acquisition in the European power sector this year, with analysts speculating that Germany’s Uniper could be of interest to them.

The utilityà‚  sold its Nordic power distribution grids for $10bn in 2014 and 2015 and since then has announced only a handful of small acquisitions while the competition for Europe‘s power generation assets gets tougher.

Fortum has publicly stated it wishes to spend a couple of billion euros quickly in Europe’s power generation and “city solutions” assets, including waste-to-energy and biomass business.
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“Our first priority is generation consolidation in Europe… 2017 remains our target (for a deal), no doubt about that,” CEO Pekka Lundmark told Reuters.

“There is a lot of money around looking for these kind of assets, and it is clear that the most attractive targets are expensive… If no good deals come in sight, we will consider other alternatives.”

Analysts have said that German firm Uniper’s Swedish hydropower assets might be of interest to Fortum, but Lundmark declined to name any specific targets.

“There are lots of interesting assets out there… The fact that a big deal is yet to come should indicate that… we are prepared to wait for a suitable one.”

Fortum,à‚ 51-percent-owned by the state, last year generated 28 per cent of its power through hydro plants, 32 per cent by nuclear units and 33 per cent with natural gas, putting its carbon exposure among the lowest in Europe compared to other utilities.