Ministers turned down Essent shares

The government turned down the opportunity to buy the country’s biggest power company Essent this spring, the Volkskrant reports on Saturday.

The paper says a number of Essent’s local authority shareholders offered their stakes to the state in an effort to keep the company in public hands. Essent is being sold to German energy giant RWE for some €9.3bn.
But the offer to buy Essent ‘at a friendly price’ was rejected, the paper claims.
‘A national energy company is a Soviet Russian entity which would not have been very good for consumers,’ economic affairs minister Maria van der Hoeven says in the Volkskrant.
In January, Van der Hoeven urged shareholders to delay the sale, while Labour MPs asked them not to sell at all.
Annemarie Moons of Noord-Brabant provincial council and chairwoman of the shareholders committee told the paper ministers had cried crocodile tears.
‘If you can buy banks, then perhaps you can buy a energy company as well,’ she said. ‘We had made a friendly price. But you need to have vision.’

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