Russia's state power trader Inter RAO has been tipped as the most likely buyer of a majority stake in Bulgaria's Maritsa East 3 coal-fired power plant, controlled by Italy's Enel SpA, according to reports.
Inter RAO may be the leading candidate among five bidders interested in Maritza, Italian daily Il Messaggero reported, without citing sources.
According to the report Enel, advised by Deutsche Bank AG, aims to pocked EUR 600 M from the sale and talks are at advanced stage.
Fulvio Conti, CEO of Enel SpA, said at the beginning of September that the Italian company will sell its stake in Bulgaria's Maritsa East 3 power plant in the fall of 2010.
Conti made it clear that Enel plans to sell gas distribution assets in Spain by September, and its Bulgarian coal-fired power plant shortly after that, but declined to give a value for the sales.
In late July, Austria's utility EVN, which already owns EVN Bulgaria, an electricity distribution company in south and southeast Bulgaria, confirmed it is holding talks for the acquisition of a majority stake in the Maritsa East 3 coal-fired power plant.
British utility International Power, US power producer AES Corp. and CEZ AS are also said to have shown interest in acquiring Enel majority stake in Maritsa East 3.
A year ago Enel increased the capacity of Maritsa East Three plant to 908 megawatts, up from 840 MW, and also put new desulphurisation installations on the plant's four units.
Experts comment that the potential buyer is probably eying a 100% stake in the plant, in which the state owns a 27% stake. The rumors were fanned by a statement of Energy and Economy Minister Traicho Traikov, who recently announced that the state can land EUR 200 M from the sale of its stake in the plant.
The plant is located in the Maritsa East lignite coal mining complex in southern Bulgaria.