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UPDATE 2-RWE considers Hungarian power plant sale in generation review
April 5, 2017 / 10:58 AM / in 7 months

UPDATE 2-RWE considers Hungarian power plant sale in generation review

* Hungarian papers said RWE, EnBW could sell stakes

* RWE says looking at all strategic options, including sale

* RWE holds 50.9 pct, EnBW 21.7 pct of Matrai Eromu Zrt

* CEZ says not interested in buying stakes (Adds EnBW comment, additional data on Matrai Eromu power plant)

By Tom Käckenhoff and Krisztina Than

DUESSELDORF/BUDAPEST, April 5 (Reuters) - RWE is considering selling its majority stake in Hungary’s second-biggest power plant and related lignite mines, as the German utility reviews its struggling generation assets across Europe.

Germany’s third-largest energy group was responding to reports in two Hungarian papers which said that RWE Power and smaller rival EnBW could both sell their holdings in Matrai Eromu Zrt and its opencast mining activities.

“We are looking at all strategic options. That includes a sale,” an RWE spokeswoman said on Wednesday. EnBW said it was looking at all options for its non-core assets, but would not comment on individual holdings.

Driven by a major decline in wholesale power prices across the continent, RWE has either shut down, mothballed or put on stand-by 11.5 gigawatts (GW) of its generation capacity since 2012. It currently stands at 41.9 GW.

And last week RWE said that it would continue to look for ways to optimise its power generation assets.

Hungarian newspapers Magyar Idok and Vilaggazdasag cited unnamed sources as saying bidders could submit offers for Matrai Eromu, which is 50.9 percent owned by RWE and 21.7 percent by EnBW, in two months.

The plant, which is fired by lignite and partly by gas, has an installed capacity of 1,000 MW. It generates annual revenues of 98 billion forints ($337.5 million) and had a 2016 net profit of 33.4 million euros ($35.6 million).

The newspapers said five companies were interested, but only two of them were willing to pay a price which would satisfy RWE and EnBW. They did not name the bidders, but said Czech EP Holding (EPH), CEZ or Hungarian state-owned MVM group, which holds 26.15 percent in the plant, could be interested.

A spokesman for CEZ said the Czech utility was not interested. MVM declined to comment. Matrai Eromu and EPH were not immediately available for comment.

($1 = 290.3400 forints)

$1 = 0.9377 euros Additional reporting by Jason Hovet and Christoph Steitz; Writing by Maria Sheahan; Editing by Alexander Smith

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