Holland’s second largest energy concern Nuon has a preference to be taken over by Italy’s power group Eni, reports Friday’s Volkskrant.
Eni, Denmark’s Dong and Sweden’s Vattenfall have all been given more time to make a bid to take over Nuon, which is owned by local governments, the paper says.
Quoting sources close to the negotiations, the paper says Nuon’s management prefers Eni because it sees it as a strong strategic partner. The final decision on a buyer is not expected until the bids have been submitted, it says.
Nuon has been valued at around €7bn, says the Volkskrant.
It says Eni is an interesting partner for Nuon because of its contacts with major gas producing countries such as Russia, Algeria and Libya. The Netherlands domestic reserves are due to run out in the coming 20 years.
One problem is that Eni is not divided into separate commercial and grid companies, as Dutch companies are must soon do. Economic affairs minister Maria van der Hoeven says that potential buyers of Dutch energy firms too must be split and she has raised the matter with the European Commission.
Nuon has been up for sale for some months following the breakdown last year of a merger with Holland’s biggest energy company Essent. Essent announced earlier this month that it is to be taken over by Germany’s RWE.
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