Enersis, Chile pension funds to discuss controversial cap hike
* Shareholder meeting with pension funds planned for Dec. 14 * Pension funds have opposed Enersis capital hike * Enersis to seek shareholder OK for cap hike on Dec. 20 SANTIAGO, Nov 23 (Reuters) - Regional energy group Enersis will hold a meeting with its Chilean private pension fund shareholders to go over a series of sticking points surrounding a controversial capital increase. Enersis plans to ask shareholders to approve on Dec. 20 a share issue to raise between $5.915 billion and $6.555 billion, intended to fund acquisitions and to hike stakes in firms it already partially owns. The private pension funds, Enersis' largest group of minority shareholders with a combined 13.63 percent stake, will have their tete-a-tete with the Chile-based energy company on Dec. 14, according to a statement Enersis posted on the website of Chile's securities regulator late Thursday. The session was requested by the funds but will be open to all shareholders. The capital increase was originally set at $8.02 billion, but opposition from minority shareholders, especially the pension funds, prompted the regulator to step in and impose conditions on the deal. Enersis subsequently scaled back the plan. The pension funds argued assets that Enersis' parent company, Spanish energy company Endesa, planned to use to subscribe to its portion of the share issue were overpriced. Endesa plans to swap Latin American assets that it owns for shares issued in the capital hike. Among other things, the group of pension funds, including AFP Capital, AFP Planvital and AFP Habitat, want to know how Enersis' board members came to the revised price for the Endesa assets. "We request to know the following ... the reasons the board had to propose a floor or minimum value for the assets the controller (Endesa) plans to use to pay for the capital increase," the pension funds said in a letter sent to Enersis. While the new price Enersis put forward for the assets represents an 18 to 26 percent discount from the initial disputed valuation of $4.86 billion, it is still higher than the price tag the pension funds sought. The pension funds previously expressed skepticism about Enersis' plans to use the proceeds to fund merger and acquisition opportunities, advance greenfield projects and buy minority interests. The funds also suggested the operation may be aimed at helping Endesa's parent company, Italy's Enel , Europe's most indebted utility.
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