Fortum CEO takes issue with Uniper bid opposition

FILE PHOTO: Fortum CEO Pekka Lundmark listens during an interview at company headquarters in Espoo, Finland, March 22, 2017. REUTERS/Tuomas Forsell/File Photo

HELSINKI (Reuters) - Finnish power company Fortum FORTUM.HE has hit back at the management of Uniper UN01.DE which has gone public with its campaign against Fortum's 8 billion euro ($9.3 billion) bid for the German utility group.

Fortum agreed a deal in September to buy E.ON's EONGn.DE 46.65 percent stake in Uniper and must launch a bid for all shares in Uniper due to German takeover rules.

Uniper has advertised in Finnish newspapers in recent weeks, arguing that its coal-fired plants were not a good fit for Fortum, which is focused on clean energy.

“I find it strange, that the company’s management defames their own company with a paid advertising campaign. We are not used to this in Finland,” Chief Executive Pekka Lundmark said in a video posted on Fortum’s Youtube channel.

“The campaign has also surprised our foreign investors, who almost without exception, support our bid.”

Fortum has said it was not looking to take over the utility completely, but Uniper has however considered the bid as hostile, saying Fortum was eventually looking to split it due to strategic differences.

Finland’s economy minister told Reuters last month that the government supports Fortum’s plans. The state owns 50.8 percent in the company.

($1 = 0.8581 euros)

Reporting by Tuomas Forsell; Editing by Jussi Rosendahl and Keith Weir