UPDATE 1-State lender CDP about to bid for Finmeccanica's Ansaldo Energia -sources

Wed Sep 25, 2013 1:31pm EDT

* CDP to present bid in coming days - sources

* Doosan in talks to buy majority stake in Ansaldo Energia

* Finmeccanica looking to sell assets to cut debt

MILAN/ROME, Sept 25 (Reuters) - Italian state lender Cassa Depositi e Prestiti is expected to make a bid for a stake in Finmeccanica's power unit Ansaldo Energia in the coming days, two sources with knowledge of the situation said.

A sale of a stake in the unit would help Finmeccanica cut its debt of nearly 5 billion euros ($6.8 billion) and focus on its core aerospace, defense and security businesses.

"CDP will present a bid for Ansaldo Energia via (its investment vehicle) FSI in the next few days," one of the sources told Reuters on Wednesday, without specifying the size of the stake.

CDP and Finmeccanica declined to comment.

State-controlled Finmeccanica is also talking to South Korea's Doosan Heavy Industries about selling a stake in the power unit, which is 45 percent owned by U.S. fund First Reserve.

A source with direct knowledge of the situation said earlier this month Doosan was looking to buy a majority stake in Ansaldo Energia although the deal still needed Italian government approval. The draft deal was based on an enterprise value for the whole unit of 1.2 billion-1.4 billion euros.

A third source said CDP was evaluating an offer and that a deal could be finalised by October. It was not clear whether this offer would rule out Doosan taking a stake in Ansaldo Energia.

More than one year ago Finmeccanica, Italy's second largest employer, singled out Ansaldo Energia among the assets it wanted to sell to cut its debt pile.

The group has struggled to carry out planned sales due to political opposition to foreign takeovers at a time when a protracted economic crisis has forced many Italian entrepreneurs to put their businesses on the block.

Finmeccanica is 30 percent owned by the Italian state and needs government backing for sensitive strategic issues such ase disposals. Delays in its asset disposal plans have prompted ratings agencies to downgrade Finmeccanica to junk.

Earlier on Wednesday Industry Minister Flavio Zanonato said the government wanted to see Ansaldo Energia and other Finmeccanica units Ansaldo STS and AnsaldoBreda find domestic or international partners.

Shares in Finmeccanica rose 4.7 percent on Wednesday to 4.74 euros, adding to recent gains fuelled by expectations that a disposal could be near.

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