July 18, 2018 / 11:45 AM / 2 months ago

Dutch court orders inquiry into dispute at utility Eneco

AMSTERDAM, July 18 (Reuters) - An Amsterdam commercial court on Wednesday ordered an inquiry into a dispute between workers and shareholders of energy company Eneco, setting back plans to privatise the 3-billion euro ($3.65 billion) Dutch utility.

The Enterprise Chamber said in its summary decision the company’s chairman should be suspended during the inquiry, which would be paid for by Eneco.

Eneco said in response that it “will cooperate with the investigation and will wait to see who the Enterprise Chamber appoints as the temporary chairman of the supervisory board.”

Disagreement between Eneco’s management and its shareholders led to the announcement of the departure of CEO Jeroen de Haas earlier this year.

The 53 municipalities that currently own Eneco voted by a large majority to sell the company in October, but met resistance from the company’s boards, which preferred a stock market listing or partial sale that would ensure its continuity as a renewables-oriented company.

Eneco, estimated to be worth around 3 billion euros, is heavily invested in sustainable energy projects and could appeal to energy companies that want to increase their exposure to renewable energy production.

$1 = 0.8610 euros Reporting by Anthony Deutsch, Toby Sterling; editing by Jason Neely

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