E.ON wants partner to buy out Batista stake in MPX -report

Mon Jul 22, 2013 9:01am EDT

* E.ON hires Goldman Sachs to look for potential partner

* German utility seeks to distance MPX from Eike Batista

* Companies have no immediately comment on Estado report

SAO PAULO, July 22 (Reuters) - Germany's E.ON SE has hired Goldman Sachs to find potential buyers for embattled Brazilian billionaire Eike Batista's stake in E.ON-controlled MPX Energia SA, the daily newspaper O Estado de S. Paulo said on Monday.

Estado, quoting sources familiar with the deal, said E.On had turned down an offer from France's GDF Suez SA to buy a significant stake in MPX, a Brazilian power producer.

E.ON sees GDF Suez, which controls power utility Tractebel Energia SA in Brazil, as a "strong competitor in other markets," Estado said.

E.ON, Germany's largest utility, has a 36 percent stake in MPX and is the company's main shareholder.

Batista resigned as MPX chairman earlier this month, leading investors to speculate that he might dispose of his remaining 29 percent stake in the company.

Despite Batista's stake, and a shareholder agreement giving him a say in MPX, the company is now fully controlled by E.ON.

As part of plans to revamp MPX operations, E.ON will change the name of the Rio de Janeiro-based company to distance its association with Batista's Grupo EBX. Shares of EBX's six listed companies have tumbled more than 80 percent this year after the mining, energy and logistics conglomerate grappled with the impact of missing project deadlines, a dearth of cash and surging debt.

E.ON, MPX, GDF Suez and Goldman Sachs Group Inc had no immediate comment on the Estado report.

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