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Catalonia to Challenge Appeal on Barcelona Water Dispute

The Catalan regional government is hoping to overturn a decision by an independent panel of government advisers to revoke Acciona SA’s 1 billion-euro ($1.3 billion) plan to privatize Barcelona’s water supply.

The territory and sustainability department will seek to reverse the decision to allow Sociedad General de Aguas de Barcelona to challenge Acciona’s contract in court as there seems to be a “divide” in criteria between authorities and the panel, regional government spokesman Francesc Homs said.

Acciona, an Alcobendas, Spain-based renewable energy provider with a water unit that operates worldwide, is preparing legal action with its partners against the Catalan government for accepting the appeal after an initial payment of 299 million euros to regional authorities on Dec. 27, according to a regulatory statement.

The company said it will continue to manage Barcelona’s water supply until the court reaches a verdict. Catalonia favors independence for Spain’s largest regional economy yet opposes asset disposals such as Barcelona’s water provider.

“Acciona can’t but express its surprise by the situation created as a consequence of these contradictory statements made by the Generalitat de Calatalunya,” the company said today in a statement. “We have confidence that the situation will be resolved definitively in the coming days.”

A spokesman for the territory department didn’t respond to phone calls today requesting comment.

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