Enel in Homestretch With Slovak-Unit Sale Deal Seen Within Days

Enel SpA, Italy’s largest power producer, is racing to finalize a three-way agreement with Czech company EPH and the Slovak government for the sale of its majority stake in Slovak utility Slovenske Elektrarne AS by no later than Monday.

Enel wants to sell part of its 66 percent stake in Elektrarne to EPH by Dec. 21, Chief Executive Officer Francesco Starace said in Rome on Wednesday. A further stake will be sold once the Mochovce nuclear power plant is completed in 2018.

The Slovak government, which owns the remaining 34 percent in Elektrarne, seeks to have an option to buy further 17 percent within six months after Mochovce is finished, thereby boosting its stake to a majority and securing greater management control, Slovak Prime Minister Robert Fico told reporters in Bratislava, the country’s capital. The utility generates almost all of Slovakia’s electricity.

“I hope it will be signed on Friday, on Monday at the latest,” Starace said. The sale of the 17 percent stake to the government “will happen at the end of the process.”

The sale of Elektrarne is part of Enel’s 5 billion-euro ($5.5 billion) asset-sale program to raise cash for future growth. The Italian company agreed to break the sales process into two phases under intense pressure from the Slovak government, which insisted Enel must first complete the two new nuclear units at Mochovce before exiting the country.

Enel bought its 66 percent stake in Elektrarne for 840 million euros in 2006, expecting to finish the Soviet-designed reactors in 2013. Mochovce’s budget has almost doubled and the project has been delayed several times.

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