April 18, 2018 / 3:10 PM / 5 months ago

Dutch energy company Eneco working with Citi on sale -sources

LONDON/AMSTERDAM, April 18 (Reuters) - Dutch energy company Eneco is working with investment bank Citi to advise on its privatisation, which should kick off soon, three sources familiar with the matter said.

The U.S. investment bank joins ABN Amro, which advises the company’s management, and boutique firm Aperghis, working with shareholders, and will take instruction from both the company and the owners as they move forward to resolve a long-standing conflict, one of the sources said.

Eneco declined to comment. Citi did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The company, whose largest shareholder is the Rotterdam municipality, said on Monday Jeroen de Haas, chief executive since 2007, will leave on Sept. 1.

Eneco said its supervisory board reached the decision “in close consultation” with De Haas but declined to clarify the reasons for his departure.

Eneco’s 53 municipal shareholders voted for privatisation in October, clashing with the company’s management who wanted to operate as independently as possible and to continue investing heavily in sustainable energy.

Sources had previously valued the company at around 4 billion euros ($5 billion).

One of the sources said De Haas had preferred the initial public offering of the company. After months of feuding, shareholders and Eneco’s board had agreed in February that the company would be sold, paving the way for privatisation in the coming months.

Potential bidders include a consortium led by Royal Dutch Shell, French energy company Total SA, Italy’s Enel, Engie, Verbund, Orsted and Fortum.

In March, Eneco reported a rise in underlying 2017 sales and profit as well as higher debt due to acquisitions. ($1 = 0.8070 euros) (Additional reporting by Stephen Jewkes in Milan, editing by David Evans)

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