Two solar developers vie for Enel's assets in Chile –sources

A prototype of a bifacial photovoltaic module is seen inside Italian utility Enel's solar panel gigafactory in Catania, Italy, November 28, 2022. REUTERS/Antonio Parrinello

NEW YORK, Dec 7 (Reuters) - Sonnedix and Cubico, two renewable energy developers, are competing to buy Chilean solar power assets that Italy's Enel (ENEI.MI) has put on the block to help trim debt, sources familiar with the matter told Reuters.

Sonnedix, which is owned by a group of institutional investors advised by JPMorgan Chase & Co's (JPM.N) asset management arm, and Cubico, which is owned by the Public Sector Pension Investment Board and Ontario Teachers' Pension Plan, expect Enel to decide on a buyer by the end of this month, the sources said.

Consisting of around 500 megawatts (MW) of operating and newly built sites, the portfolio is expected to fetch up to 1 billion euros ($1 billion).

Enel and Cubico declined to comment. Sonnedix did not respond to a request for comment.

Pension and infrastructure funds have been buying stakes in low-carbon energy generation for many years, attracted by their predictable returns.

Rising regulatory and social pressure to curb the greenhouse gas emissions that contribute to climate change has increased their appeal, pushing some of those groups to create their own development units and enter projects at earlier stages.

Buffeted by swings in demand prompted by COVID-19 and energy market havoc since Russia's war in Ukraine, Europe's second-biggest utility is cutting down its business in far-flung markets to focus on a planned 37 billion euro investment drive in six main markets in Europe and the Americas.

The solar sale is a pure cash-raising exercise, one of the sources said, as Enel aims to lower its net debt to 51 billion to 52 billion euro by the end of 2023 from 69 billion at the end of September.

Additional reporting by Valentina Za and Francesca Landini in Milan; editing by Cynthia Osterman

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.