RLPC-Allianz and Borealis seen buying Czech gas grid Net4Gas

LONDON, March 8 Fri Mar 8, 2013 1:26pm EST

LONDON, March 8 (Reuters) - German insurer Allianz and Canadian infrastructure investor Borealis are expected to buy Czech gas transmission system operator Net4Gas from RWE after being awarded preferred bidder status, banking sources said.

German utility RWE put the company up for sale in 2012 as part of an asset disposal programme.

Both Allianz and Borealis declined to comment on the potential acquisition.

A group of 13 banks is lining up a syndicated loan financing of more than 1 billion euros ($1.3 billion) to back the sale, the sources said on Friday.

The loan package is expected to be syndicated to a wider group of lenders, starting in a couple of weeks, one of the sources said.

It is expected to include term loans as well as a bridge to a bond, bankers said previously.

Net4Gas gets supplies of gas from Russia, leading some lenders to view the deal as Russian risk. While this has deterred some banks from joining the syndication, the presence of Allianz is reassuring lenders, bankers said.

Net4Gas operates more than 3,600 kilometres of pipelines, employs more than 500 staff and accounted for about 11 percent of RWE's net profit in 2011.

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