May 25, 2018 / 5:09 PM / a year ago

Enel in advanced talks with Russia's Melnichenko over Reftinskaya coal plant sale - sources

MOSCOW/ST PETERSBURG, May 25 (Reuters) - Italy’s biggest utility Enel is in advanced talks with Russian businessman Andrey Melnichenko over the sale of Enel’s Reftinskaya coal plant, three sources familiar with the talks told Reuters on Friday.

Enel, which is expanding in wind generation globally, including in Russia, decided to sell Reftinskaya in 2016 and had hired Sberbank as an adviser.

Enel Chief Executive Francesco Starace said this week he expected a deal to sell the plant to be signed in June.

ESN Group, owned by businessman Grigory Berezkin, and Andrey Melnichenko’s Sibgenco, made bids for the station.

Sources told Reuters earlier this year that Oleg Deripaska, which was put under fresh U.S. sanctions last month, was also interested in the plant.

The three sources familiar with the talks said that Enel was in advanced talks with Melnichenko, whose bid favoured Enel. Two of the sources said that Enel wants 25 billion roubles ($402 million) for the plant, although it was unclear how much Melnichenko has offered.

Both Enel Russia, which is selling the asset, and a spokeswoman for Melnichenko declined to comment.

Berezkin, asked about the Reftinskaya plant on Friday, told reporters that he was interested in a deal.

“They (Enel) are now in talks with the contender as he offered the best price of the three, but this is not us. But we did not drop out of the process,” Berezkin said without naming the other two companies.

$1 = 62.1680 roubles Writing by Katya Golubkova, editing by Louise Heavens

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