BRATISLAVA, March 22 Germany's Allianz has bid 1.8 billion euros ($2.3 billion) to buy Czech gas transmission system operator Net4Gas from RWE, a Slovak newspaper reported on Friday.
Banking sources told Reuters earlier this month that Allianz and Canadian infrastructure investor Borealis together were awarded preferred bidder status and that a group of 13 banks was lining up a syndicated loan financing of more than 1 billion euros to back the deal.
Daily Hospodarske Noviny reported on Friday that Allianz's bid was just ahead of Czech energy holding company's EPH's 1.75 billion euro offer.
"The sale process is still going on. But it is true that the offer of EPH is second in line," the newspaper quoted Miroslav Bodnar, an adviser to Daniel Kretinsky, chairman of Slovak gas utility SPP, as saying.
EPH in January acquired a 49 percent stake in SPP from Germany's E.ON and France's GDF Suez for a total of 2.6 billion euros.
German utility RWE put Net4Gas up for sale in 2012 as part of an asset disposal programme.
Net4Gas operates more than 3,600 km of pipelines, employs more than 500 and accounted for about 11 percent of RWE's net profit in 2011.
Infrastructure investors have been looking for assets that yield guaranteed returns, including power and gas grids, because of low interest rates and volatile stock markets. ($1 = 0.7737 euros) (Reporting by Martin Santa; Writing by Jason Hovet)