The Spanish Government will decide in few weeks if it will permit Electricidade de Portugal (EDP) and Electricit�e France (EdF) to regain full shareholders rights in Spanish utility Hidrocant�ico. Currently both companies have had their voting rights limited to 3 per cent although EdF has a 60 per cent stake in Hidrocant�ico, through its interests in EnBW of Germany and Ferroatl�ica.

The authorities of Spain and Portugal are trying to reach an agreement by which EDP would recover their rights in Hidrocant�ico, if the Portuguese power market became more liberalised.

However, EdF’s monopoly in France gets little sympathy, at it is likely that it will continue to be limited to a 3 per cent voting right. Thus, EDP could end up with a 30 per cent voting right, reflecting its 30 per cent equity stake in Hidrocant�ico, which would give it control of the company as EdF’s 60 per cent equity only has voting rights of 3 per cent.

A further issue is to take into account is Iberdrola’s 4 per cent stake in EDP, leading to speculation that there may be some interests in revitalising the two companies’ previous relationship. Although any major move would make an Iberdrola/EDP partnership a rather powerful proposition for the government’s competition regulators.