March 29, 2019 / 12:08 PM / 4 months ago

Four consortia interested in EWE minority stake - sources

FRANKFURT, March 29 (Reuters) - At least four parties are interested in a minority stake in German utility EWE , three people familiar with the matter said, adding that the asset’s value could be hit by falling network returns and growing retail competition.

First bids for the 26 percent stake are expected in May or early June, the people said after a deadline for initial expressions of interest expired last week. EWE hopes to conclude the sale, which is managed by Citi, in the second half of 2019.

Initial estimates valuing the stake at 1.5 billion to 1.6 billion euros ($1.7-1.8 billion) might be too optimistic, the sources said, with some putting a fair valuation at a more modest 1.2 billion to 1.4 billion euros, or even less.

Reporting by Christopher Steitz and Arno Schuetze Additional reporting by Tom Käckenhoff in Duesseldorf and Alexander Huebner in Munich Editing by Michelle Martin

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