February 21, 2019 / 11:11 AM / 4 months ago

Exclusive: RWE to win EU okay to buy E.ON, Innogy renewables businesses

The logos of RWE and E.ON are seen before a joint news conference of the two German utilities after unveiling plans for an asset swap deal which will break up RWE's Innogy unit in Essen, Germany March 13, 2018. REUTERS/Wolfgang Rattay

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - German utility RWE will win unconditional EU antitrust approval to buy the renewables businesses of E.ON and Innogy in a deal that will reshape the German energy market, people familiar with the matter said on Thursday.

The acquisition is part of an asset swap deal which involves breaking up Innogy and dividing its assets between parent RWE and E.ON.

Network, renewables and retail energy group Innogy was carved out from RWE two years ago as a standalone unit.

On completion, RWE, Germany’s biggest electricity producer, will become Europe’s third-largest renewable energy provider behind Spain’s Iberdrola and Italy’s Enel.

The European Commission, which is scheduled to decide on the deal by Feb. 26, Innogy and E.ON declined to comment.

RWE said: “We do not see cartel hurdles by taking over the renewable assets from E.ON, but we don’t want to make comments on the ongoing process.”

As part of the deal, RWE will take a 16.7 percent stake in E.ON, which has to be approved by the German and British competition authorities. RWE will also need U.S. regulatory clearance to buy E.ON’s assets there.

The EU competition enforcer is now reviewing E.ON’s acquisition of Innogy’s prized regulated energy networks and customer operations, with a decision due by March 7.

E.ON and Innogy’s rivals and customers have been asked if the deal will push up prices and harm competition.

Reporting by Foo Yun Chee, additional reporting by Tom Kaeckenhoff and Matthias Inverardi in Frankfurt; editing by Jan Harvey and David Evans

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