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Mitsubishi's Eneco deal moves one step closer after European Commission approval

Image: Eneco.

Image: Eneco.

The European Commission has approved the acquisition of Eneco by the Mitsubishi Corporation, first announced last November.

After examination, the Commission concluded that the acquisition would not raise any competition concerns. This is because of both the Japanese giant and Belgian energy company’s moderate market position, meaning the transaction would create little overlap, it said.

The transaction will see Mitsubishi take an 80% stake in the company with its subsidiary Chubu holding the remaining 20%, pending regulatory approval of the transaction. The acquisition will cost €4.1 billion (£3.5 billion).

It forms part of Mitsubishi’s wider goal of expanding into the European supply market, after purchasing a 20% stake in the UKs second biggest utility, OVO.

The transaction still needs to secure approval from the German competition authorities, the Dutch minister of Economic Affairs and Climate Policy pursuant to the Dutch Electricity Act and the Belgian federal minister for energy.

Around 90% of the 44 Dutch municipalities that own Eneco have approved the sale, with Rotterdam, the largest shareholder, giving the green light at the end of January.

Mitsubishi beat oil and gas major Shell and private equity firm KKR to have the winning bid last year. Eneco said that this was partly due to Mitsubishi’s assurance that the Belgian company can continue its strategy and keep its corporate identity.

Takehiko Kakiuchi the CEO of Mitsubishi Corporation, said at the time that the companies share the same long-term vision, with Eneco “well-positioned to continue to play a leading role in the energy transition”.

“Eneco fits in perfectly with our current energy activities and provides us with a platform to further grow in the European market in which we intend to have a leading position in the energy transition.”

Final approval of the acquisition is expected this summer.

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