ECONOMY

Enel enters Romanian market

BUCHAREST (Reuters) – Italy’s biggest utility Enel plans to invest more than 380 million euros in Romania by 2010 to upgrade the country’s electricity distribution network, Chief Executive Fulvio Conti said yesterday. Earlier this week, Enel won a race for Romanian power distributor Electrica Muntenia Sud, offering 820 million euros, and Conti said the firm will continue to look for chances to expand further into Romania and other markets. «We have a plan of investing a figure in the next four years in excess of 380 million euros in modernizing and improving the distribution network in Romania,» Conti told a news conference. When asked whether Enel was interested in bidding for French rival Suez, Conti declined to comment, only saying that his company aimed to compete with a growing move to create cross-border electricity markets. «In this framework, a company such as Enel has to seek opportunities and will continue to seek opportunities,» he said. Italian media reported yesterday that Enel could seek a friendly offer on 100 percent of Suez’s prize energy asset, Belgian utility Electrabel, or buy a 51 percent stake. Conti also said Enel was still interested in taking part in Romania’s tender for building and operating the third and fourth nuclear reactors in the Cernavoda power plant. Enel already qualified as a potential candidate for the project together with six other investors in 2004. The government expects letters of interest by June 23. The company already controls two regional distributors in Romania which it acquired in a 112-million-euro deal in 2004. Enel’s share of the local market is expected to rise to 28 percent from 17 percent now in terms of energy distributed, if anti-monopoly authorities and the Romanian government clear its bid for Electrica Muntenia Sud, the firm said.