FRANKFURT, March 10 Bidders have started submitting binding offers for DEA, the oil and gas production unit of German utility RWE, three people familiar with the matter told Reuters, adding a deal could be struck as soon as this month.
Final bids are being submitted this week, two of the people said, adding BASF's oil and gas exploration unit Wintershall, Russian tycoon Mikhail Fridman and Hungarian oil and gas group MOL were still in the race.
A consortium consisting of U.S. private equity firm KKR and Kuwait Petroleum Corp's Kufpec have put in a "cautious" bid after their interest in the asset cooled off, the people said, adding the offer was unlikely to succeed as a result.
A deal could be signed as soon as this month, the people said.
RWE, MOL, KKR, Fridman all declined to comment.
Kufpec and Wintershall were not immediately available for comment. (Reporting by Arno Schuetze, Christoph Steitz and Alexander Huebner)