Croatian state-owned power utility HEP and its Serbian peer EPS are eyeing acquisitions abroad and Montenegrin energy firm EPCG is seen as a possible target, Zagreb-based news daily Večernji list said, as reported by SeeNews portal.
The Montenegrin government is the majority owner of EPCG with a 57% stake while Italian company A2A owns 41.75%. According to the Večernji list report, the Italian partner is looking to exit EPCG. Earlier that month, the Montenegrin government and A2A reached an interim agreement that will allow the Italian partner to continue managing EPCG in the following three months.
In 2009, A2A signed a deal to acquire a minority stake in EPCG while taking on a significant role in its management. HEP has not started any acquisition negotiations but has interests in this respect in general, Večernji list reported, quoting an unnamed government official familiar with the matter. According to the news daily, HEP is also interested in investing in hydro power in Bosnia as well as in several companies in Serbia, Slovenia and Bosnia that would allow it to enter power distribution. The daily quoted Serbian prime minister Aleksandar Vučić as saying that the government would not want to privatize EPS but to “broaden impact” and that talks have been held in Montenegro and Bosnia.
In March, the Croatian economy ministry told SeeNews that the government will consider an option for an IPO of up to 25% of HEP, subject to market conditions, and that the proceeds from the IPO would be used to strengthen HEP’s position on the local as well as on foreign markets, especially in the region.