UniCredit SpA (UCG), Italy's biggest bank and Vienna-based Raiffeisen Bank International AG (RBI) have bought tender documents to broker Bulgaria's 33% stake sale in an E.ON AG unit, Bloomberg agency reported.
A total of 14 financial companies have purchased tender documents.
Other competitors that will probably submit bids by a May 27 deadline include Greece's second biggest lender EFG Eurobank Ergasias SA (EUROB) and United Bulgarian Bank, a unit of the National Bank of Greece SA, Bulgaria's Privatization Agency told the agency.
At the end of last year Bulgaria's government announced it will list in two or three months its 33% minority stake in E.ON, one of the three power distributors in the country, to enliven the local stock exchange and boost revenues.
Bulgaria, struggling to cover its widest budget deficit in a decade, plans to sell minority stakes in other energy utilities as well.
In 2004, the Balkan country sold 67% in its three power distributors to Germany's E.ON, Austria's EVN and Czech CEZ. E.ON serves households in North-Eastern Bulgaria
Heavily criticized for its failure to rake in revenues into the budget by privatization, Bulgaria's government is expected this year to finally go ahead with the planned sale of minority stakes in E.ON-operated electricity distributor.
In 2011 Bulgaria's government should finally make its mind about how to restructure the energy holding, which groups the country's top energy assets, analysts have said.
Reports say the holding will come to include only the thermal and nuclear power plants, together with the National Electricity Company NEK, after which a minority stake will be listed on the stock exchange.