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UPDATE 1-Lithuanian energy group plans to expand, may issue shares
January 17, 2014 / 4:56 PM / 4 years ago

UPDATE 1-Lithuanian energy group plans to expand, may issue shares

* Lietuvos Energija plans to invest up to $1.2 bln by 2020

* May seek to attract institutional investors to raise capital

* Aims to become the most valuable energy co in the Baltics

* Plans to start importing liquefied natural gas (LNG) in 2015 (Adds details, comment, LNG from paragraph 3)

By Andrius Sytas

VILNIUS, Jan 17 (Reuters) - Lithuania's state-owned Lietuvos Energija said it would invest up to $1.2 billion through 2020 and might bring in new investors as it aims to double the value of its assets to become the biggest Baltic energy company.

The group plans to build two new power plants and invest in wind power capacity to help double earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) to over 1.1 billion litas ($433.3 million) by 2020 from 2012.

"We are looking into issuing bonds for projects, so that our local investors, pension funds and others, could participate ... We are also considering issuing new shares," Chief Executive Dalius Misiunas told a news conference on Friday.

Lietuvos Energija owns stakes of 96.1 percent of top Lithuanian power producer Lietuvos Energijos Gamyba and 82.63 percent of national grid operator Lesto. German utility E.ON holds 11.76 percent of Lesto.

The Lithuanian group said it planned to raise up to $800 million by 2016 and would look at every option "ranging from regular instruments offered by the financial markets to institutional investors, pension funds or bonds".

It expects the expansion efforts to lift its value to around 8 billion litas ($3.15 billion) by 2020, or 7.5 times its expected EBITDA, it said.

That would make it the biggest Baltic energy company by value. Estonian state-owned Eesti Energi is currently the biggest, followed by Latvia's Latvenergo.

Lietuvos Energija, which already accounts for more than 30 percent of the assets of state-controlled companies in Lithuania, also plans to expand the capacity of its Kruonis pumped-storage hydropower plant to 1,125 megawatts by adding a fifth unit of 225 MW.

The group is also planning to start importing liquefied natural gas (LNG) in 2015 through gas trading arm Litgas, with the first deliveries in 2015.

Litgas has said it plans to shortlist potential suppliers in January and to sign a five-year supply contract in mid-2014.

LNG imports would end the monopoly position of Russia's Gazprom, which now supplies 100 percent of the gas to all the three Baltic states. ($1 = 2.5385 Lithuanian litas) (writing by Nerijus Adomaitis; editing by Jane Baird)

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