* Figure on low end of new range Enersis had set for cap hike * Deal puts Enersis cap hike share price at 173 pesos * Shareholders to vote on controversial hike Dec. 20 By Felipe Iturrieta SANTIAGO, Dec 7 Spanish energy firm Endesa SA and Chilean pension funds reached an agreement that puts regional energy group Enersis SA's planned capital increase at $5.963 billion, Endesa said on Friday, effectively ending the controversy over the operation. Chile's private pension funds, which account for Enersis' largest group of minority shareholders with a combined stake around 13.63 percent, had stridently opposed Enersis' originally planned capital hike -- originally put at $8.02 billion. The agreed amount is on the low end of the range of $5.915 billion to $6.555 billion that Enersis had subsequently scaled back to. Under the agreement, around 16.441 billion shares of Enersis will be released at 173 pesos per share. Enersis shares closed at 167.26 pesos per share on Friday. Enersis is set to ask shareholders to approve on Dec. 20 the share issue intended to fund acquisition opportunities and raise stakes in firms it which it already owns stakes. "We consider this proposal to be beneficial for all shareholders and our clients," Chile's pension funds said in a joint statement on Friday. Endesa calculated the capital increase at $5.963 billion, using Thursday's exchange rate of 477 pesos per U.S. dollar, it said in a statement to the regulator on Friday. It put the value of the assets it will bring to the share increase at $3.615 billion. A previous statement from Chile's pension funds did not include an amount for the capital increase. Using Friday's exchange rate, the capital increase reaches $5.95 billion. The private pension funds had expressed skepticism about Enersis' plans to use the proceeds, and they had also suggested the operation might be aimed at helping Endesa's parent company, Italy's Enel, Europe's most indebted utility. Opposition from minority shareholders, especially the pension funds, had prompted Chile's regulator to step in and impose conditions on the deal. The pension funds argued assets that Enersis' parent 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 , wanted to know how Enersis' board members came to the revised price for the Endesa assets. 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. Shares in Enersis closed 1.23 percent stronger on Friday, outperforming a 0.07 percent fall on the wider blue-chip IPSA stock index.
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