* Erogasmet-3i favorites for E.ON Italy gas grid-sources
* Snam unit Italgas not interested in E.ON grid-spokesman
(Adds Snam spokesman comment in 6th para)
By Stephen Jewkes and Peter Dinkloh
MILAN/FRANKFURT, Feb 17 E.ON (EONGn.DE), the
world's largest utility, selected a consortium of private
equity fund 3i (III.L) and local Italian gas supplier Erogasmet
as favorites to buy their Italian gas grid, two people with
knowledge of the matter said.
E.ON needs to sell the 9,400 kilometers of gas lines in
order to reach its target of completing 10 billion euros of
divestments by the end of 2010.
"Yes, there are exclusive talks for two months," said one
person with knowledge of the matter. E.ON and 3i declined to
E.ON had three binding offers for the grid -- in addition
to the 3i group, also from Italian infrastructure fund F2i with
Axa Private Equity and from Snam Rete Gas (SRG.MI) -- four
people with knowledge of the matter told Reuters in October.
The consortium of F2i and Axa is not in the process any
Late on Wednesday, a Snam spokesman told Reuters the
group's Italgas unit is not interested in the German group's
Italian gas grid.
In December, E.ON Italia Chief Executive Klaus Schaefer
told Reuters that the regulatory asset base of the grid was 307
million euros ($421.5 million) and that he expected the sale to
close in the first quarter of 2010. [ID:nLDE5BE20W]
The regulatory asset base of the grid is the value of
assets the regulator is overseeing. Investors can expect a
return only on the regulatory asset base.
(Reporting by Stephen Jewkes, Ian Simpson in Milan and Peter
Dinkloh in Frankfurt; Additional reporting by Ian Simpson in
Milan; Writing by Peter Dinkloh; Editing by Gerald E.