Fortum CEO: distribution business attracting potential buyers

HELSINKI, March 19 Tue Mar 19, 2013 12:23pm EDT

HELSINKI, March 19 (Reuters) - Utility Fortum's chief executive said its electricity distribution business was attracting interest from potential buyers, and shrugged off concerns that a foreign buyer could put the country's grid operations at risk.

The state-controlled Fortum has been assessing strategic options, and sources said last week it hired Citigroup and Danske Bank to explore a 5 billion euros sale of its electricity distribution business.

"It is clearly seen that this is drawing interest, which is not a surprise," chief executive Tapio Kuula told Reuters on Tuesday, adding that Finnish politicians' concerns over a foreign buyer were not warranted.

"As a Finn, I wouldn't be worried as this business is subject to licence and it is regulated, so the owner must fulfill the criteria in any case," he said. (Reporting By Jussi Rosendahl; Editing by Ritsuko Ando)

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