AEM Torino raises 124 mln euros in power company’s share sale

By JIM OSBORNE

TURIN, Italy, Nov. 25, 2000 (Bloomberg) à‚– AEM Torino SpA raised 124 million euros ($104 million) in an initial stock offering after the Italian municipal electric utility sold shares at the top end of a set price range.

The Turin utility sold shares at 2.7 euros apiece, valuing the whole company at 913 million euros, AEM Torino said. About 60 percent of the shares in the offering are newly created with the rest being sold by the city of Turin, said company spokesman Fabrizio Gaudio.

The Turin, Italy-based company’s share sale comes after Italy allowed city councils to sell as much as 49 percent of their municipal utilities to reduce state ownership in the country’s energy industry. Milan and Rome sold almost half of Aem SpA and ACEA SpA in 1998 and 1999, respectively.

Next week, the city of Como in northern Italy is selling a 24 percent stake in ACSM SpA, its water and natural-gas company, to bring its stake down to the minimum limit of 51 percent.

AEM Torino’s share sale will allow the municipal utility to fund its expansion, mostly as a result of its planned takeover of the Turin distribution network of Enel SpA, Italy’s dominant power company. AEM Torino expects investments to double in the next three years compared with the last three to 1 trillion lire ($433 million) and sees annual sales increasing as much as fourfold to 1.6 trillion lire by 2005.

The amount of money raised by AEM Torino in its stock offering is likely to rise as Banca IMI, which is managing the sale, has an option to buy as many as 13.6 million additional shares under the so-called greenshoe option brokers use to stabilize a stock’s price following an IPO.

If all the additional shares are sold, about 27 percent of AEM Torino will have been sold. The stock is set to begin trading on the Italian exchange on Dec. 1.

Demand from institutional investors was 10 times the number of shares on offer, AEM Torino said. The company didn’t say how many shares were ordered by individual investors.

AEM Torino and Turin city council are being advised by Lazard & C.

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