Hungary's MVM could buy RWE stake in Budapest gas firm this year - paper
BUDAPEST Dec 9 (Reuters) - Hungarian state-owned energy group MVM could buy German firm RWE's 49 percent stake in Budapest gas utility Fogaz Zrt as soon as this year, the daily Magyar Nemzet quoted Fogaz CEO Laszlo Koncz as saying in an interview on Monday.
The transaction would be part of a government drive to boost state influence in the energy sector after MVM's recent purchase of German group E.On's natural gas trade and storage businesses in Hungary, as well as cuts in household energy bills.
Prime Minister Viktor Orban said in September that Hungary was in talks to buy into 6-7 utility companies.
Magyar Nemzet cited Koncz as saying that international advisers were in the process of valuing Fogaz, adding that Budapest city council would retain its 50 percent plus one vote majority stake in the company after the planned transaction.
"Given that all the data required for valuation is available, if the intentions of the seller and the buyer are indeed serious, then there is a realistic chance that a deal could be made this year," Koncz was quoted as saying.
He said in that case the transaction could be closed at a later stage. A spokesman for RWE in Hungary said talks were under way but declined to comment further.
RWE has protested against some changes in the energy sector by Orban's government. (Reporting by Gergely Szakacs; Editing by Mark Potter)
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