* Figure on low end of range Enersis had set for cap hike * Deal puts Enersis cap hike share price at 173 pesos * Powerful Chilean pension funds say proposal beneficial * Shareholders to vote on controversial hike Dec. 20 * Capital hike set to be largest in Chilean history By Felipe Iturrieta SANTIAGO, Dec 7 Spanish energy firm Endesa said on Friday its Latin American power unit Enersis will issue shares to raise $5.963 billion, a figure that ends a dispute with pension funds and indicates Chile's largest capital hike should be approved. Chile's private pension funds, which account for Enersis' largest group of minority shareholders with a combined stake around 13.63 percent, had stridently opposed Enersis' planned capital hike -- originally put at $8.02 billion. The agreed amount is on the low end of the range of $5.915 billion to $6.555 billion that Enersis had subsequently scaled the planned operation back to. "We consider this proposal to be beneficial for all shareholders and our clients," Chile's pension funds said in a joint statement on Friday. Under the agreement, around 16.441 billion shares of Enersis will be released at 173 pesos per share. Enersis shares closed at 167.26 pesos per share on Friday. Enersis is set to ask shareholders to approve on Dec. 20 the share issue, which aims to fund acquisition opportunities and raise stakes in firms in which it already owns stakes. The private pension funds had expressed skepticism about Enersis' plans to use the proceeds, and they had also suggested the operation might be aimed at helping Endesa's parent company, Italy's Enel, Europe's most indebted utility. Endesa calculated the capital increase at $5.963 billion, using Thursday's exchange rate of 477 pesos per U.S. dollar, it said in a statement to the regulator on Friday. Of the total, Endesa will subscribe to almost 10 billion shares in exchange for a number of its Latin American assets, which it valued at $3.615 billion. "This capital increase, if approved, will consolidate Enersis as the main private electricity company in Latin America and the only regional operator with a presence in the region's main markets," Endesa said in its statement. Endesa said in September it hoped Enersis will complete the capital increase during the first quarter of 2013. A previous statement from Chile's pension funds did not include an amount for the capital increase. Using Friday's exchange rate, the capital increase reaches $5.95 billion. Opposition from minority shareholders, especially the pension funds, had prompted Chile's regulator to step in and impose conditions on the deal. The pension funds had argued assets that Enersis' parent company, Endesa, planned to use to subscribe to its portion of the share issue were overpriced. Shares in Enersis closed 1.23 percent stronger on Friday, outperforming a 0.07 percent fall on the wider blue-chip IPSA stock index.
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