UPDATE 1-Lithuanian state firms seek approval to buy E.ON's local assets

Wed Apr 30, 2014 2:27pm EDT

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(Adds Gazprom, company quotes, details)

VILNIUS, April 30 (Reuters) - Lithuanian state-owned companies said they had asked the competition authority for approval to buy stakes in the Baltic state's gas and power utilities from Germany's E.ON.

The deal would mean Lithuania regaining control of its key gas infrastructure, which was privatised a decade ago, as the country plans to start imports of liquefied natural gas (LNG).

Lithuania currently relies completely on gas imports from Russia.

The government has been negotiating the purchase of E.ON's holdings in gas utility Lietuvos Dujos, gas transmission grid Amber Grid and power distribution grid trading firm Lesto.

State-owned energy group Lietuvos Energija is seeking to buy a 38.9 percent stake in Lietuvos Dujos and an 11.8 percent stake in Lesto, worth a combined 136 million euros ($188.57 million) at the current share price.

"We were told by the government, our owner, to apply for permission from the competition authority," a spokesman for Lietuvos Energija told Reuters.

State-owned holding company EPSO-G aims to buy E.ON's 38.9 percent stake in Amber Grid, a company which operates high-pressure gas pipelines.

"We agreed with E.ON to ask for permission (from the competition authority) to buy holdings in Amber Grid. The sale has not been closed yet," EPSO-G head Virgilijus Poderys told Reuters, but declined to disclose the price of the deal.

Amber Grid shares are worth 52 million euros at current market value.

E.ON declined to comment.

Russia's Gazprom, which has a 37.1 percent stake in both Lietuvos Dujos and Amber Grid, said it was still considering whether to sell its stakes.

($1 = 0.7212 Euros) (Reporting by Andrius Sytas; Additional reporting by Christoph Steitz in Frankfurt; Editing by Pravin Char)

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