Sunday, October 18, 2009

Spanish Natural Gas Bullish Acquisition

MADRID, Oct 17 (Reuters) - Spanish power group Gas Natural (GAS.MC) said on Saturday it has agreed to sell its nearly 64 percent stake in Colombian utility EPSA to a group led by Colombiana de Inversiones CLI.CN for $1.1 billion.

The deal is pending authorisation by the Columbian financial regulator of Colinversiones' proposal to buy Gas Natural's stake together with just over 2 percent of EPSA -- Empresa de Energia del Pacifico -- held by minority shareholders.

Gas Natural acquired its stake in EPSA when it bought the Cali-based utility's previous owner, Spanish power group Union Fenosa, earlier this year and has been selling non-core assets to reduce the debt it secured to finance the deal.

Gas Natural plans to cut its net debt to 18 billion euros by the end of 2009 from about 22 billion in June, much of which was secured to finance the acquisition of its Spanish peer. (Reporting by Jonathan Gleave; Editing by Alex Richardson)

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