Deadline set for Interpower bids

20 September 2002 – Italy’s dominant power producer Enel has set a deadline of October 17 to receive bids for the sale of Interpower SpA – the third of the generating units it is obliged to dispose of.

A financial source said that four different bidders were contacted by the company soliciting binding offers for Interpower which is expected to raise around €1.2bn.

In May, Europe’s largest listed utility said it had received 19 expressions of interest in its fully owned 2611 MW generating asset.

Among interested bidders is energy consortium Energia Italiana SpA, which has joined forces with Belgium’s Electrabel and Rome-based utility Acea SpA to bid for Interpower.

Enel sold the 7009 MW Eurogen SpA in March this year for €2.9bn plus €700m in debt, and the 5438 MW Elettrogen SpA in July last year, raising €2.63bn.

The power company had 56 000 MW of installed capacity before an E.U. liberalization directive forced the sales.

Energia Italiana is comprised of financial holding CIR SpA, Austria’s Verbund, (Bologna-based utility Saebo, Genoa-based Amga, Monte dei Paschi di Siena, and Banca Nazionale del Lavoro.

Other bidders expected to submit binding offers include financial holding Gemina SpA, the U.K.’s International Power, and Foster Wheeler of the US.

Enel is advised by Credit Suisse First Boston, Lehman Brothers and Merrill Lynch.

Separately, – Italy’s competition watchdog said it could re-evaluate its ruling that electricity Enel must shed 5500 MW of generating capacity in order to win approval to take over telecoms group Infostrada. The president of the antitrust authority, Giuseppe Tesauro, told Corriere della Sera newspaper in remarks published on Thursday that the ruling could be revised due to changes in market conditions.

“The antitrust body should evaluate whether the situation is such that the same conditions should be imposed on Enel,” he said.

“We don’t have any prejudices, we could conclude that the situation has changed, thus imposing different conditions to those of the shedding of the network, or none at all.”

The competition watchdog had previously ruled that Enel held a dominant market position and should be forced to sell capacity to win approval for the purchase of Infostrada, a fixed-line and mobile operator acquired from Vodafone.

In June, Italy’s highest appeals court backed the decision that Enel held a dominant position but invited the watchdog to reassess the determination that Enel must sell 5,500 megawatts of generating capacity.

That reduction in capacity was in addition to the 15 000 MW Enel is already committed to selling in order to comply with European Union directives on energy sector deregulation.

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