UPDATE 1-Enerjisa to nearly triple customer base, E.ON says

Wed Apr 24, 2013 11:27am EDT

* Joint venture between E.ON, Sabanci

* E.ON took over 50 pct stake from Austria's Verbund

* Verbund says to get 400 mln euros from E.ON asset swap (Recasts, changes dateline, adds E.ON statement)

FRANKFURT/VIENNA, April 24 (Reuters) - German utility E.ON said the customer base of Enerjisa, its Turkish joint venture with Sabanci, would nearly triple after winning tenders for Turkish power grids last month.

"Winning two auctions in the Toroslar and Ayedas regions ... is a milestone in reaching the ambitious growth targets of Enerjisa," E.ON said on Wednesday, adding the acquisition would raise Enerjisa's customer base to 9 million from 3.5 million.

In March, Enerjisa won the two tenders in Turkey's privatisation auctions for all of its power grids, offering nearly $3 billion.

By entering Turkey, E.ON, Germany's top utility, hopes to benefit from the country's growing appetite for energy, offsetting weakness in European core markets, where low wholesale power prices and weak demand have hurt the company.

Turkish energy consumption rose 9.2 percent to 118.8 million tonnes of oil equivalent in 2011, the highest annual growth rate in Europe and Eurasia, BP's statistical review showed.

Turkey's annual power demand is around 210 terawatt-hours (TWh), and the government expects demand to rise at an annual rate of 6-9 percent from 2009-23.

E.ON last year announced its acquisition of a 50 percent stake in Enerjisa from Austrian hydropower group Verbund .

Verbund said on Wednesday it would receive a cash payment of about 400 million euros ($521 million) as part of the deal.

E.ON Chief Financial Officer Marcus Schenck told Reuters in an interview in March that the group aimed to double the contribution to its net profit from markets outside Europe to more than 25 percent. ($1 = 0.7683 euros) (Reporting by Christoph Steitz and Georgina Prodhan; editing by Jason Neely)

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