The EBRD has signed an agreement to acquire 9.8% stakes in two Romanian energy holding companies, which are majority-owned by Germany’s E.ON Group, a leading global private sector energy company.

Through this transaction EBRD shall have an indirect five per cent stake in E.ON Gaz Romania, a gas distribution company supplying northern Romania. It shall also have an indirect five per cent stake in E.ON Moldova, an electricity distribution company supplying north-eastern Romania.

The investment will support the E.ON Group’s strategy to strengthen operations in Romania. It will also support the on-going privatisation, liberalisation and modernisation of Romania’s power and gas sectors in line with the EU directives on power and gGas and assist the further development of the energy community of Southeastern Europe. The investment is also part of the EBRD’s commitment to supporting Romania’s energy sector by working with the private sector.

Nandita Parshad, EBRD director for power and energy, says this project further demonstrates the EBRD’s commitment to working with strong private investors in the restructuring, privatisation and liberalisation of the energy sector. The EBRD especially welcomes the opportunity to continue working with partners like E.ON Ruhrgas and E.ON Energie, which are committed to developing the energy sector in the region, says Parshad.

In June 2005 E.ON Ruhrgas, one of the leading gas companies in Europe, acquired a 51% stake in Distrigaz Nord (now re-named E.ON Gaz Romania). In October 2005 E.ON Energie, one of the world’s large private energy suppliers, acquired a 51% stake in Electrica Moldova (now reorganised in E.ON Moldova Distributie and E.ON Moldova Furnizare).

The overall strategy of E.ON Gaz Romania and E.ON Moldova will be to improve technical and operational efficiency and service quality that will ultimately benefit its customers, and to generate synergies between the gas and electricity businesses.

E.ON Gaz Romania serves over 1.2mn consumers, selling annually over 4bn cubic metre of gas. E.ON Moldova, supplies 1.3mn customers, selling annually over 4.3bn kWh electricity.

The EBRD is one of the largest investors in Romania, having committed nearly €3.5bn in more than 190 projects to date.