May 30, 2012 / 2:42 PM / 5 years ago

Court rejects Veolia's move to stop RWE asset sale

DUESSELDORF/FRANKFURT, May 30 (Reuters) - A Berlin court rejected a bid by France's Veolia Environnement to block the sale of RWE's stake in water utility Berlinwasser, the court said in a statement on Wednesday.

RWE's Chief Financial Officer Rolf Pohlig said earlier this month a deal had been agreed with the city of Berlin regarding the sale of its 24.95 percent stake in Berlinwasser Holding.

Veolia, which also holds a 24.95 percent stake in Berlinwasser, took legal action against RWE's planned divestment last week, saying it wanted all details of the negotiations before any final agreement was signed.

The city state of Berlin holds the remaining 50.1 percent of the water utility.

"This decision confirms our view that none of Veolia's rights have been violated and that Veolia's approval is not required by the legal framework that has been chosen jointly with the federal state of Berlin," an RWE spokeswoman said.

Veolia was not immediately reachable for comment.

A person familiar with the matter told Reuters earlier this month that RWE's stake may fetch about 618 million euros ($775 million), with a sale expected in the coming weeks, once the state parliament and RWE's board have approved it.

RWE, Germany's No.2 utility, was hit hard by the German government's decision to phase out nuclear power, forcing it to sell assets of up to 7 billion euros and tap growth areas such as renewable energy.

At the top of its sales list are parts of its DEA oil and gas exploration business, which sources said could fetch up to 1.25 billion euros, and Czech gas transmission system NET4Gas. ($1 = 0.7977 euros) (Reporting by Tom Kaeckenhoff and Christoph Steitz; Editing by David Cowell)

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