FRANKFURT Italian energy company Eni (ENI.MI) wants to hive off its 50 percent stake in the German natural gas transmission networks it co-owns with utility EnBW (EBKG.DE), a German newspaper reported on Wednesday.
Either EnBW or a consortium of EnBW and its main public-sector shareholders are likely to buy Eni's stake in the gas networks holding comprising Gasversorgung Sueddeutschland (GVS) and Terranets BW, newspaper Stuttgarter Zeitung said, without specifying its sources.
The deal could be worth a mid triple-digit million euro amount, the paper added.
Buying the pipeline network outright would undermine EnBW's efforts to free up capital. It wants to divest billions in assets after falling wholesale power prices, tepid energy demand and Germany's decision to abandon nuclear power generation put a strain on its finances.
EnBW, controlled by the German state of Baden-Wuerttemberg and a grouping of nine local municipalities called OEW, had widely been expected to also put its power and gas grids on the block.
OEW's chairman, however, told Reuters in August that EnBW should hold on to the transmission networks, citing their stable income.
EnBW declined to comment, while officials at Eni were not immediately available to comment.
($1 = 0.7553 euros)
(Reporting by Ludwig Burger, additional reporting by Valentina Za; Editing by Marilyn Gerlach and Mark Potter)