FRANKFURT (Reuters) - Three bidders have been shortlisted in an auction of German waste management company EEW, in a deal potentially worth more than 1.7 billion euros ($1.8 billion), two people familiar with the matter said.
China’s Beijing Enterprise Holdings (0392.HK), Finnish utility Fortum FUM1V.HE and a consortium comprising infrastructure investor Macquarie (MQG.AX) and German utility Steag have been asked to hand in final bids for Energy from Waste (EEW) by late January, the people added.
Other interested parties such as China Everbright International (0257.HK) and Beijing Capital Group are currently out of the process as their offers came in below the cut-off price of 1.7 billion euros, one of the sources said.
For 2015, EEW is expected to post core earnings, or earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortisation, of 180 million euros.
If the final price remains at about 1.7 billion euros that would be roughly in line with the 9 times core earnings that China’s Cheung Kong Infrastructure (1038.HK) paid for AVR when it bought the Dutch energy-from-waste company in 2013.
EEW’s private equity owner EQT as well as the bidders declined to comment, except for Beijing Enterprises and Beijing Capital which were not immediately available for comment.
China has set a target to spend about $16 billion between 2013 and 2016 to improve sewage disposal and garbage treatment, and so Chinese companies have been expected to pursue EEW.
The rare bidding war between government companies is also a sign China is giving greater freedom to its state-owned enterprises, as part of President Xi Jinping’s reforms of the country’s sprawling government entities.
Fortum is looking for acquisitions following its recent 9.3 billion euro power grid divestments in the Nordic region.
Reporting by Arno Schuetze; Additional reporting by Sui-Lee Wee and Jussi Rosendahl; Editing by Mark Potter