Poland Picks Kulczyk Over GDF for Talks to Buy Enea

Poland granted Kulczyk Holding SA, owned by billionaire Jan Kulczyk, exclusive talks to buy Enea SA, the country’s third-largest power company, in preference to GDF Suez SA, France’s largest utility.

Kulczyk, which would act as a guarantor for buyer Elektron Sp. z o.o., has until Nov. 3 to negotiate the purchase of the Treasury Ministry’s 51 percent stake in Enea, the ministry said in a statement on its website today.

“Before we make a decision we need to check who the buyer is and who is responsible for the financing,” Treasury Minister Aleksander Grad told reporters in Warsaw today. In any case, “we can always come back to the previous bidders.”

Kulczyk will finance the purchase mostly with its own equity, supported by investment funds, and debt, Dariusz Mioduski, chief executive officer of parent company Kulczyk Investments, told Bloomberg. He declined to name the funds.

The ministry wants the winning bidder to announce a tender for 100 percent of Poznan-based Enea, which was valued at 10.4 billion zloty ($3.6 billion) at 3:43 p.m. in Warsaw trading today. The government plans to complete the sale, in which it’s being advised by Credit Suisse Securities Europe Ltd. and Rothschild Polska Sp. z o.o., by the end of the year as it needs to help finance a growing budget deficit.

Asset Sales

The government has said it’s seeking to raise 25 billion zloty from asset sales this year. Once it agrees to sell Enea, the ministry will have signed deals for about 30 billion zloty.

A bid for 100 percent would give Vattenfall AB, the Nordic utility that owns 19 percent of Enea, a chance to sell, having announced a plan to focus on Germany, the Netherlands and Sweden.

The ministry is looking for a premium of 10 to 20 percent on the market price for its stake, Deputy Treasury Minister Jan Bury said last month. Grad today declined to comment on the value of the transaction.

GDF Suez and Kulczyk were among six companies that placed in August initial bids for Enea, one of five power companies in which the ministry has been selling stakes this year.

GDF spokeswoman Sabine Wacquez declined to comment on the sale when reached by Bloomberg News.

The ministry has already sold or agreed to sell stakes in the other top four utilities, PGE SA, Tauron Polska Energia SA and Energa SA, booking 15.7 billion zloty.

It’s also in talks with Rafako SA to sell PAK SA, which produces 8.5 percent of the country’s electricity.

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