RWE to sell chunk of German gas grid
DPA/The Local · 18 Mar 2009, 17:11
Published: 18 Mar 2009 17:11 GMT+01:00
The number-two player in the industry made the move in response to an anti-trust suit, which alleged that the company’s possession of the gas pipeline in the state of North Rhine-Westphalia impeded competition. The accusation could lead to billions of euros in fines for RWE.
At roughly 4000 kilometres in total length, the grid gives RWE possession of roughly one-tenth of the entire German grid valued at just under €1 billion.
"RWE will sell its portion of the grid under the supervision of a trustee," the European Commission reported. "All buyers must first be approved by the Commission."
A consortium of 36 public organisations that includes Dutch corporation Gasunie and other utility companies is reviewing an offer to purchase the grid, a spokesperson from the Bochumer Stadtwerke confirmed.
European Commissioner for Competition Neelie Kroes welcomed RWE's offer to sell its portion of the grid: "This full acceptance of responsibility will essentially change the German gas market in creating more room for competition and giving end-users more choice."
The administration expects competitive but fair prices, according to an EU spokesperson.
The grid is expected to be sold in May.