Kretinsky among two bidders as race for Steag enters final stages

DUESSELDORF, Germany (Reuters) - Czech billionaire Daniel Kretinsky and Spanish investment firm Asterion are the two remaining bidders as the race to acquire the German utility Steag enters its final stages, company officials and sources said on Tuesday.

"We are on schedule with the sales process, two offers have been received," said a spokesperson for the municipal utility consortium KSBG, which owns Steag.

Kretinsky's Energeticky a Prumyslovy Holding (EPH) group has partnered with Germany's RAG Foundation to form a consortium to bid for Steag, a spokesperson for the RAG Foundation said, adding that a bid had been put forward on Monday.

Steag, EPH and Asterion declined to comment. RAG, which owns stakes in companies, is a foundation tasked with bearing the costs for the country's exit from hard coal mining.

A decision on which bid is successful could be made as early as this week, sources said.

Steag has put itself up for sale and wants to sign a deal with a strategic buyer or financial investor and close the transaction by the end of the year.

The utility, which employs 5,700 staff, is owned by KSBG, where six municipal utilities in Germany's industrial Ruhr region have bundled their stakes.

In 2021, Steag achieved a total turnover of 2.8 billion euros ($3.03 billion). Earnings before interest and taxes (EBIT) amounted to 234 million euros.

($1 = 0.9227 euro)

(Reporting by Tom Käckenhoff, Emma-Victoria Farr, Jan Lopatka, Andres Gonzales; writing by Matthias Williams; editing by Friederike Heine and Jonathan Oatis)