Spain’s Gas Natural is reportedly preparing a new, higher takeover bid for electricity company Endesa. that would match, or even exceed, the 29 billion euro bid from Germany’s E.On.
Spanish media outlets say it could be announced as early as Monday when Gas Natural releases its financial results for 2005. Gas Natural would not comment on the reports.
The Spanish government, which is opposed to the German bid, is working on fighting it off with changes to legislation.
There is already a Spanish law under which investment of more than 3% in an energy company could be blocked.
But European Commission spokesman Jonathan Todd pointed out that is illegal.
He said: “The law in Spain concerning investment in the energy sector which gives the Spanish government the right to intervene in investments in energy companies of over 3% is illegal. The European Commission stated it was illegal in July 2003.”
Meanwhile, elsewhere in Europe’s utility industry, there is speculation that
Gaz de France and the French company Suez might strike an alliance to protect Suez from a takeover by an Italian rival.
Enel, Italy’s former power monopoly, this week said it is looking to buy a stake in Belgian utility Electrabel and did not rule out a bid for Electrabel’s parent company, Suez.
French newspapers then reported that GDF and Suez might go for a limited swap of their shares which would deter Enel and move them closer to a future, full merger.