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Axa PE, Neoen Acquire Verbund’s Renewable Assets in France

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July 18 (Bloomberg) -- Axa SA’s private equity unit and French energy group Neoen agreed to buy Poweo renewable energy assets from Verbund AG, Austria’s largest utility. Poweo SA shares rose the most in three weeks.

Axa plans to hold the French wind power assets and Neoen will control the solar power business, the Paris-based companies said in an e-mailed statement today, without providing financial details.

The wind and solar assets are part of Poweo’s production unit, which Verbund agreed to buy in December. Their sale forms part of a restructuring Poweo started before Verbund’s purchase. Verbund also owns 46 percent of the parent company, for which it is seeking buyers.

Verbund on July 1 said that it was in talks with potential buyers for the Poweo stake, after reclassifying the holding as a “non-current asset held for sale” in its first-quarter report. Vienna-based Verbund’s talks with potential buyers weren’t “at a stage where the characteristics of a transaction could be disclosed,” Ines Schurin, a spokeswoman for the utility, said at the time.

Negotiations between Verbund and Italian companies Enel SpA and Eni SpA are at an early stage and a decision may be made in several months, Le Journal du Dimanche reported June 26, without saying where it got the information. Direct Energie is still in talks with Verbund for a tie-up with Poweo, the Paris-based weekly newspaper said in the same report.

Poweo rose 18 percent to 5.16 euros at close of trading in Paris, the largest gain since June 27. Verbund advanced 1.6 percent to 28.015 euros in Vienna.

To contact the reporter on this story: Zoe Schneeweiss in Vienna at zschneeweiss@bloomberg.net

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

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