Enel ready to consider Edison asset buy: source

By Giselda Vagnoni

ROME (Reuters) – Enel (ENEI.MI: Quote, Profile, Research) is considering a government proposal to buy assets in Edison (EDN.MI: Quote, Profile, Research) if the Italian power generator’s French and Italian shareholders fail to agree on restructuring, a source close to the matter said.

French utility EDF (EDF.PA: Quote, Profile, Research) and Italian utility A2A (A2.MI: Quote, Profile, Research), which control Edison through a complex shareholder agreement, have been trying to restructure it.

EDF and A2A agreed on March 15 to extend their shareholder pact to buy time to agree on the revamp at Edison, Italy’s second-biggest power generator.

State-controlled Enel, Italy’s biggest power group, is considering a proposal from the Treasury to buy assets in Edison if the two shareholders fail to agree, the source said.

“Enel has said it is ready in principle to consider the proposals in this regard,” the source said.

Nobody at Enel was immediately available to comment.

Il Sole 24 Ore business newspaper said on Friday that Enel and state-controlled oil and gas group Eni (ENI.MI: Quote, Profile, Research) had been asked to buy Edison assets if EDF and A2A failed to reach an agreement.

The center-right government is poised to introduce legislation to bolster Italian companies in strategic sectors against foreign takeovers following a series of operations involving French companies.

On Wednesday the government approved a decree on food group Parmalat (PLT.MI: Quote, Profile, Research) designed to stymie a move by French dairy giant Lactalis to gain control of Parmalat.

Edison shares were up 2.67 percent at 0.769 euro at 1021 GMT as the STOXX Europe 600 utilities index (.SX6P: Quote, Profile, Research) was flat.

(Reporting by Giselda Vagnoni, writing by Stephen Jewkes; Editing by Jon Loades-Carter)

Enel ready to consider Edison asset buy: source