Vattenfall Agrees to Sell Hamburg Power Grid Back to City

Vattenfall Europe AG agreed to sell its 74.9 percent stake in Hamburg’s power-grid operator to the city after its citizens voted in favor of a buyback.

Hamburg will buy the Swedish company’s 74.9 percent district heating grid stake at a later point, Daniel Stricker, a finance ministry spokesman, said today by phone ahead of a press conference detailing the deal.

Peter Stedt, a spokesman for Vattenfall in Stockholm, declined to comment.

Vattenfall and Hamburg agreed on a minimum price, and an external auditor will decide the final price, a person familiar with the situation said separately. Vattenfall will keep control of the district heating company, and the city has the option to buy it outright in 2018 or 2019, the person said, asking not to be identified because the information isn’t public.

State-owned Vattenfall is unwinding parts of a decades-long international expansion after announcing writedowns of 29.7 billion kronor ($4.6 billion) in July. Commercial utilities operating in Germany have seen margins squeezed by Chancellor Angela Merkel’s decision to phase out nuclear power by 2022 in a shift to renewable energy.

The power grid supplies 1.1 million households and businesses in Germany’s second-biggest city with 13 billion kilowatt-hours per year, according to Vattenfall.

To contact the reporter on this story: Nicholas Brautlecht in Hamburg at nbrautlecht@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Angela Cullen at acullen8@bloomberg.net

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