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Industry News

TXU to Help Cantábrico Find a Buyer

LCG, Aug. 28, 2000--Hidroelctrica del Cantbrico, Spains fourth-largest electric generating company and the target earlier this year of two failed takeovers said Friday it was seeking a buyer for itself and had had a few nibbles.

TXU Corp. of Texas attempted through its TXU Europe subsidiary a hostile takeover of Cantbrico in March, offering 21.25 euros per share, but that bid dissolved when Unin Fenosa, Spains third largest generator, offered 24 euros. The Fenosa deal was, in turn, blocked by Spanish regulators who said the combination would be inimical to competition.

Last week, TXU said it would not stand in the way of a takeover of Cantbrico if the price was right, and it defined "right" as 24 euros per share. On Friday, 24 euros was roughly equivalent to $21.60 U.S., but money traders said the European common currency was in danger of further erosion.

On Friday, a spokesman for Cantbrico said "The board is looking to find a partner, and within that search there are several candidates. The company is confident of finding somebody."

TXU said "We're not seeking a buyer for our own sake. We're helping the board find a buyer. If they get a buyer and a price they're happy with, we're not going to stand in the way."

When it made its hostile bid for Cantbrico in March, TXU owned 5 percent of the Spanish firms shares. It has gradually increased its holdings to 19.2 percent, not enough to trigger a takeover which is required by Spanish law when one owner has a 25 percent stake in a company.

In July, TXU bought a block of Cantbrico stock constituting 5 percent of the company, bringing its stake to the current 19.2 percent. On the same day, through the same investment bank, Belgiums Electrabel acquired 10 percent of Cantbricos shares, setting off an investigation of possible collusion between the two companies to avoid the 25 percent cap.

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