October 5, 2017 / 6:48 PM / 9 months ago

UPDATE 1-Enel says its investors show no unease over Catalonia crisis

(Adds comments from finance head, background)

By Giulio Piovaccari and Stephen Jewkes

MILAN, Oct 5 (Reuters) - Europe’s biggest utility Enel , which controls Spanish energy group Endesa, has had no negative reaction from bond investors as a result of the Catalonia crisis, the group’s head of finance said on Thursday.

Catalonia’s push for independence from Spain has raised some concern that escalating tension and uncertainty could lead to a higher risk premium for companies operating in the country.

“We were in New York on Monday on a call with investors ... nobody asked us a single question on the issue,” Enel finance chief Alessandro Canta told Reuters.

Enel issued dollar-denominated bonds this week worth $3 billion in a deal that drew $10 billion of demand. That followed an even bigger $5 billion U.S. bond issue in May.

“So far there’s been no concern at all over this, otherwise we’d have been asked a question or two,” the manager said.

Canta said the U.S. bond market is currently more advantageous than the euro market for longer-term issues but that Enel would not need to tap the U.S. market again this year.

However, the company will continue to issue dollar-denominated bonds on a regular basis in future years, he added.

State-controlled Enel, which paid about 39 billion euros ($46 billion) to take control of Endesa eight years ago, has net debt of almost 39 billion euros.

Canta said the group would not be issuing any large bonds before the end of the year because it had completed its funding programme for 2017 and had started its funding for 2018.

Enel has about 6 billion euros of bonds maturing next year, 3 billion euros of which mature in February. “That’s totally doable,” Canta said.

Asked about higher interest rates as a result of a possible tapering of monetary stimulus by the European Central Bank, Canta said the market would adjust without too much trouble and that higher rates were normal for a healthier economy.

We are not on the panic side,” he said, adding that Enel did not foresee a faster pace of bond issuance as a result. ($1 = 0.8545 euros) (Reporting by Giulio Piovaccari and Stephen Jewkes; Editing by Mark Bendeich and David Goodman)

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