Polish pensions buy 16% of local energy company

Polish open pension schemes ended up being the biggest subscribers to the government’s share offer for 16% of Enea – Poland’s third-largest power group. The government intends to sell the remaining 51% it owns in Enea later this year for a control premium. RWE was in negotiations late last year to buy 67% of Enea but the sale fell through over price disagreements.

Polish open pension schemes (OFE) were the biggest subscribers to a 16 percent share offer for energy company Enea, which netted the Polish government PLN1.1 billion (€273 million; $371 million) this week.

The offer, which the Treasury Ministry said was oversubscribed, was taken up mostly by Polish institutional investors (80 percent), with the majority of those comprising OFEs (60 percent). Investors lapped up the offer at PLN16 per share, close to the lower end of the range of between PLN15.5 and PLN17.5 per share set by the government earlier this week.

That means the 16 percent stake in Enea, Poland’s third-largest power group, ended up being sold at a 9 percent discount to the company’s market value, which is floating around the $2.7 billion mark. But the government said it will seek a control premium when it sells its remaining 51 percent holding in Enea later this year. Swedish utility Vattenfall owns 19 percent of Enea with the remainder owned by the company’s employees.

The first time the government tried to sell a stake in Enea it had opted to divest its entire, 67 percent, stake in the company. The government went so far as to enter into exclusive negotiations with German utility RWE but the sale eventually fell through as both parties failed to agree on the stake’s price. The 67 percent stake was valued at PLN6.3 billion last October, when the two parties started exclusive negotiations.

Enea’s sale is the third divestment for Poland this year, as the government strives to meet its target of PLN25 billion in privatisations for 2010. So far, the sales, which include divestments in copper group KGHM and refiner Lotos, have netted the government about PLN3.7 billion.