DUESSELDORF, Germany German utility E.ON (EONGn.DE) may fetch up to 440 million euros ($563 million) in the planned sale of its regional unit E.ON Westfalen Weser (EWA), two people familiar with the matter told Reuters on Wednesday.
The sources said the whole unit - which operates regional distribution networks for electricity, gas and water - would be valued at 700 million euros, putting a price tag of about 440 million on E.ON's 63 percent stake.
A spokesman for Germany's biggest utility said only that the utility was in talks to sell E.ON Westfalen Weser and E.ON Thueringer Energie, declining to give further details.
E.ON in June said it was open to co-shareholders increasing their stakes in three of its seven regional energy supply units, adding it would start talks with municipal shareholders of E.ON Mitte and E.ON Thueringer Energie, while talks regarding E.ON Westfalen Weser (EWA) were ongoing.
E.ON plans to sell E.ON Westfalen Weser -- which had revenues of 671 million euros in 2011 and employs more than 1,000 staff -- to the German cities Paderborn and Herford.
According to the association of municipal enterprises VkU, municipal shareholders including Paderborn and Herford have already agreed on an purchase price for E.ON Westfalen Weser, not providing a specific figure.
E.ON Mitte AG, in which E.ON holds a 73.3 percent stake, had sales of 660 million euros last year, while E.ON Thueringer Energie, in which E.ON holds 53 percent, had sales of 1.35 billion in 2011.
Impacted by Germany's decision to pull out of nuclear power, stagnating energy demand in Europe and high debt, E.ON plans to sell up to 15 billion euros worth of assets by the end of 2013, of which nearly 13 billion have been realized so far.
Last week, E.ON and peer RWE (RWEG.DE) said they would sell their British nuclear joint venture Horizon to Hitachi (6501.T) for a total 696 million pounds ($1.11 billion). ($1 = 0.7812 euros) ($1 = 0.6257 British pounds) (Reporting by Tom Kaeckenhoff; Writing by Christoph Steitz; Editing by Louise Heavens)