March 28, 2018 / 3:57 PM / a month ago

Montenegro utility to bid for controlling stake in country's biggest coal mine

SARAJEVO, March 28 (Reuters) - Montenegro’s power utility EPCG said it would make an offer for a controlling stake in the Balkan country’s biggest coal mine (RUP), which it wants to modernise.

EPCG said in a statement on Wednesday that it would offer to pay 6.4 euros ($7.9) per share. According to the Montenegro Stock Exchange, RUP’s equity comprises 5.06 million shares in total.

EPCG said it would bid to buy Italian utility A2A’s 39.49 percent stake, as well as all the other shares in RUP not owned by Montenegro’s government, which owns 31 percent.

A2A is also EPCG’s controlling shareholder and backed the plan on Wednesday.

EPCG has said that it would modernise the facility’s sole coal-fired power plant Pljevlja to increase its output, trim pollution and bring it in line with the European Union’s environmental standards.

A brother of Milo Djukanovic, Montenegro’s former president and prime minister who is running for president again, owns an 11.8 percent stake in RUP, and small shareholders also owns tiny stakes.

Montenegro said this month that it aims to tap bond markets to raise up to 500 million euros to finance maturing debt and repurchase shares in EPCG from A2A.

A2A, which holds a 41.7 percent stake in EPCG, said last year that it wanted to sell its entire stake in the Montenegrin utility.

$1 = 0.8095 euros Reporting by Maja Zuvela; Editing by Susan Fenton

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