Portuguese government to privatize up to 15.3 pct of electricity company EDP

2 March 2006

Lisbon, Portugal, 02 March – The Portuguese government plans to privatize up to 15.3 percent of the country’s largest electricity company, EDP, in a deal that could net the treasury up to 1.6 billion euros, financial daily Jornal de Negócios reported Wednesday.

According to the paper, which quotes the proposal to be put forward by state holding company Parpública at EDP’s next general meeting (March 30), 560 million shares in the company will be given re-privatization (B), and no longer be considered state shares, if the proposal is accepted.

At closing price on the Lisbon stock exchange Wednesday for EDP shares (2.93 euros), the sale of this stake would net the State 1.6 billion euros.

The State would thus reduce its stake from 20.5 percent to 5.5 percent of the company.

The government included EDP in the list of company’s in which it would reduce its stakes over the next two years, and the Finance Ministry is now preparing for the sale process.

Among potential buyers of blocks of shares are EDP’s Spanish competitors, such as Iberdrola and Endesa, as well as Macau businessman Stanley Ho, who has shown interest in increasing his stake in the electricity company, to around 5 percent. (macauhub)