Germany’s biggest utility’s attempts to reduce its debt, through the sale of its Italian assets is being frustrated by more delays.
Initially scheduled for the second quarter, Reuters reports that the power group must now wait until the end of November for the offloading of its Italian business.
Europe’s depressed power market and the complexity involved in the deal has prompted a series of delays according to unnamed sources quoted by the news agency.
“Binding offers which had been due early November are now expected by November 24,” one of the sources said.
E.ON is keen to sell in Italy and Spain to help lower a $37.bn (29.7 billion euro) debt pile.
E.ON Italia, Italy’s No. 4 electricity provider, has assets that include 6 GW of generation capacity, a stake in a liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminal as well as gas and power sales activities.
While E.ON’s power and gas clients have attracted interest, most of the generation assets have found only lukewarm interest as Italy’s ongoing economic crisis continues to undermine demand and depress prices.
European Central Bank stress test results have also reduced confidence in Italian banks, which has made the prospect of deals more difficult.
Two sources said no bid for all of E.ON’s Italian assets had as yet been tabled. Edison, the Italian power company controlled by France‘s EDF (EDF.PA), was set to enter private talks to buy all of E.ON’s Italian assets, according to reports last month.
Italy’s biggest utility Enel (ENEI.MI) has previously expressed an interest in some of the assets, without specifying which ones, while regional utility Hera (HRA.MI) is looking at E.ON’s gas and power sales portfolio.
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