May 26, 2023
Germany Weighs Selling TenneT Stake After Buying From Dutch
(Bloomberg) -- The German government is considering selling a majority stake in the local unit of power grid operator TenneT Holding BV soon after purchasing it from the Dutch state, according to people with knowledge of the matter.
Officials aim to reach a non-binding agreement on the initial acquisition as early as the end of next month, said the people, who asked not to be named. The whole unit could be valued at around €25 billion ($26.8 billion) to €30 billion, according to some of the people.
The deal is part of Germany’s efforts to consolidate the country’s power grids and bolster energy security as the grid needs investment that the current Dutch owners are seen as unlikely to provide. But there’s unease in the governing coalition about state ownership and a desire to reign in public finances, so the idea of selling a stake on to private investors has gained traction.
The government would sell 74.9% of the unit, retaining a blocking minority of 25.1%, according to the people. Discussions are still ongoing.
Europe’s largest economy is pushing to secure domestic control over its power grid — which already has the unusual feature of being overseen by four separate transmission operators — after last year’s energy crisis underscored the urgency of upgrades. And as Germany aims for climate neutrality by 2045, it needs to modernize the grid to allow for an influx of renewable energy.
TenneT, owned by the Dutch government, has said it’s exploring a sale of its German business, and that “both the Dutch and German government prefer to fund, control and own their national electricity grid.”
A spokesperson for Germany’s Economy Ministry declined to comment on the sale plan, and said the government’s current goal is to see whether it can reach an agreement with Dutch officials over the course of the summer. Spokespeople for the Dutch energy ministry, TenneT and KfW — Germany’s state-owned development bank which is involved with financing the deal — declined to comment.
Separately, a minority stake in one of Germany’s other grid operators, TransnetBW, owned by EnBW Energie Baden-Wuerttemberg AG, was sold to a consortium of savings banks on Friday. The move will keep the government’s influence more or less steady since utility EnBW is owned about 90% by the federal state of Baden-Wuerttemberg and the special-purpose association Oberschwäbische Elektrizitätswerke.
--With assistance from Cagan Koc and Josefine Fokuhl.
(Updated with TransnetBW in final paragraph.)
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