(Adds energy ministry comments, details)
By Luiza Ilie
BUCHAREST, June 26 Romanian utility Electrica could raise around 435 million euros ($593.1 million) from the sale of a 51 percent stake in a stock market flotation, the energy ministry said, proceeds that are at the low end of a previously indicated range.
The leftist government, which said the sale had attracted bids for three times the amount of stock on offer, has committed to the share sale under a 4 billion euros aid deal led by the International Monetary Fund.
It is the first sale of a majority stake in a state-owned firm via the capital markets after the divestment in 2013 of minority stakes in gas producer Romgaz and power generator Nuclearelectrica. It will also be Romania's first IPO, or initial public stock offering, so far this year.
Earlier this month, the government set a price range of between 11 and 13.5 lei per share for the Electrica offering, meaning the company had expected to raise between 1.95 billion lei ($605.8 million) and 2.4 billion.
Gabriel Dumitrascu, the energy ministry's privatisation head, said the sale could raise around 435 million euros, though a final price for the shares had yet to be announced.
The ministry has asked the group of investment banks organising the sale to raise the allocation to retail subscribers from 15 percent of the shares on sale to at least 20 percent.
"I have asked the lead managers to analyse the possibility of raising the percentage of shares given to Romanian (retail investors) ... by at least 5 percentage points," Energy Minister Razvan Nicolescu told a news conference.
Dumitrascu added that raising the retail allotment could ensure a healthy trade in the stock.
A quarter of the institutional subscribers were from Romania, with most of the rest from Britain, the United States and Poland.
The share sale ran from June 16 to June 25 on the Bucharest Stock Exchange and in London, where the company aims to list global depositary receipts. Citigroup, Raiffeisen and Societe Generale are advising on the listing.
Electrica's IPO was one of at least three listings the government had committed to carry out this year. However, flotations of coal and hydro power producers Oltenia and Hidroelectrica have been delayed.
The energy minister said on Thursday the two were still on the cards and the privatisation of power exchange OPCOM could also follow. ($1 = 0.7335 Euros) ($1 = 3.2190 Romanian lei) (Editing by Radu Marinas and David Holmes)