LONDON/MILAN, June 4 (Reuters) - France’s EDF aims to sell as early as the end of June a 70 percent stake in Italian unit Edison’s wind farms to local infrastructure fund F2i, two sources with direct knowledge of the talks said on Wednesday.
Edison, Italy’s No. 2 utility, has a domestic windpower portfolio of around 600 megawatts. It is looking to offload a majority stake in its wind power business to fund bigger expansion in the renewable segment but wants to keep management control of the assets.
Edison put its wind farms on the block last year, attracting interest from players such as F2i, British fund Terra Ferma and U.S. private equity firm First Reserve.
F2i emerged as the frontrunner after rivals dropped out after clashing over governance issues, the sources said.
An exclusivity period between Edison and F2i ended on May 29 but talks are continuing, the two sources said.
They said the deal could be sealed as early as the end of June and would be worth less than an earlier bid by Terra Firma worth around 500 million euros ($681 million).
“The corporate governance has been one of the main hurdles and caused lengthy negotiations,” the first source said. “But talks are in the final stages.”
Edison and F2i declined to comment. A spokesman for Terra Firma declined to comment.
Edison, Italy’s No.2 wind operator behind Erg, is keen to play a part in the consolidation of Italy’s fragmented renewable energy sector. The segment has been boosted until recently by generous state subsidies.
Under Italian law, power produced from renewable energy has dispatching priority to the national grid, guaranteeing the power is sold.
Erg became Italy’s biggest player in renewables last year when it bought 80 percent of IP Maestrale from GDF Suez in a deal worth 859 million euros, or 1.35 million euros per megawatt.
$1 = 0.7341 Euros Editing by Lisa Jucca and William Hardy