February 16, 2018 / 3:17 PM / 10 months ago

Dutch energy company Eneco to be privatized after boards, owners agree

Power-generating windmill turbines are seen at the Eneco Luchterduinen offshore wind farm near Amsterdam, Netherlands September 26, 2017. REUTERS/Yves Herman

AMSTERDAM (Reuters) - Dutch energy company Eneco, valued at up to 4 billion euros ($5 billion), will be privatized after its municipal shareholders and management boards agreed on the terms under which it may be sold, ending months of feuding.

In a joint statement, they said they would “now together take steps in the short term toward the privatization of Eneco Group.”

Eneco is owned by 53 cities led by largest shareholder Rotterdam, which had pushed for a sale after the firm’s energy grid, Stedin, was split last year. That left Eneco as a small, profit-seeking company in the uneasy hands of the municipalities.

Shareholders voted by a large majority to sell the company in October, but met resistance from the company’s boards, who preferred an IPO or partial sale that would ensure its continuity as a renewables-oriented firm.

They entered mediation last month after Eneco’s Shareholders’ Commission threatened to take the board to court and have them removed.

The statement said both sides have now “made clear commitments” on issues ranging from management’s pay to the timing and conditions for buyers — though those terms will not be made public.

Rotterdam alderman Adriaan Visser, who chairs the Shareholders Commission, said in a statement he was happy with the outcome.

“Now our job is to quickly start the sales process, in which the sustainable character of Eneco will remain protected,” he said.

($1 = 0.8038 euros)

Reporting by Toby Sterling; Editing by Adrian Croft

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