Italy state lender eyes 3 bln euros from grid assets sale -sources

MILAN Fri Nov 29, 2013 1:32pm EST

MILAN Nov 29 (Reuters) - Italian state lender Cassa Depositi e Prestiti (CDP) expects to cash in around 3 billion euros ($4.1 billion) by June 2014 from the sale of minority stakes in gas and power grid networks, two sources with knowledge of the matter said on Friday.

The sale by CDP of its wholly-owned investment vehicle CDP Reti will be part of a new round of privatisations the government has announced last week to help raise cash for stretched public finances.

"The sale of minority stakes in the two grid networks could bring around 3 billion euros," one source said, adding that more than a dozen foreign buyers were looking into the potential investment.

CDP Reti already owns 30 percent of gas grid company Snam and will soon receive from its parent also a 29.85 percent stake in power grid group Terna. CDP is planning to sell up to 49 percent in CDP Reti.

The potential buyers, including sovereign, infrastructure and pension funds, will be invited to send non-binding offers by the beginning of next year. The winner will be decided via a competitive auction, one source added.

CDP, which is 80 percent owned by the Italian Treasury, aims to raise cash from the sale while keeping the assets, which are seen as strategic, in Italian hands.

The state lender declined to comment. ($1 = 0.7345 euros) (Additional reporting by Luca Trogni, editing by Danilo Masoni)