(Adds Factor Energia declines to comment)
By Andrés González
MADRID, Dec 1 (Reuters) - Investment fund JZ International has hired Natixis for the sale of its 65 percent share in Factor Energia, a supplier of electricity in Spain with 58,000 mostly corporate customers, three sources with knowledge of the operation said.
Unlisted Factor Energia, which made sales of 413 million euros ($439 million) last year, was founded 17 years ago and has benefited from the 2003 liberalisation of Spain’s energy market which allowed consumers to choose suppliers.
Earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA), an important metric for potential buyers, came in at up to 35 million euros last year, two of the sources said. The unlisted company does not make this information public.
Regulatory changes and high visibility on profits have made the energy sector one of Spain’s most fertile grounds for mergers and acquisitions in recent years. Investment funds Cinven, CVC or Apax could be interested in the stake, one of the sources said.
The 35 percent remaining stake of Factor Energia, which is seeking to increase its weight in the residential market, is held by Emili Rousaud, a Catalan businessman who heads up a Spanish lobby group for electricity distributors in Spain.
Natixis and CVC were not immediately available for comment. JZ International, Cinven and Apax declined to comment. Factor Energia declined to comment. ($1 = 0.9415 euros) (Reporting By Andres Gonzalez; Additional reporting by Pamela Barbaglia in London; Writing by Sonya Dowsett; Editing by Alexandra Hudson)