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Spain's Acciona hires banks for IPO of $9.6 bln energy unit - sources

MADRID, April 14 (Reuters) - Spanish conglomerate Acciona is stepping up preparations for a stock market listing of its renewable energy unit and has hired banks to lead the deal which is expected to value the business at more than 8 billion euros ($9.6 billion), three people familiar with the matter said on Wednesday.

Citi and Goldman Sachs have been appointed as global coordinators for the deal, the sources said, a key step on the path to listing.

Shareholders gave their blessing on Monday to Acciona’s plan to spin off the renewable energy generation and supply business which brings in most of its money, and sell at least a 25% stake in it.

Acciona, Citi and Goldman Sachs declined to comment.

Renewable energy has become an increasingly popular sector for investors worldwide as governments and corporations try to wean themselves off fossil fuels and stem climate change.

With wind farms in the United States, Australia, Spain, Chile and Mexico, Acciona plans to plough proceeds from the sale into nearly doubling generation capacity to 20 gigawatts (GW) by 2025. It will also use the money to pay down debt.

Chief Executive Jose Manuel Entrecanales, whose family controls around 55% of the parent company, has said he wanted to do the deal in the first half of this year.

Entrecanales has declined to say how much money Acciona hopes to raise, but the people familiar with the matter said it was looking for a valuation of 10 times the unit’s 2020 core earnings of 831 million euros.

A third person familiar with the matter said the deal could value the business at more than 10 billion euros.

Fellow energy groups Repsol and Eni are also considering partial listings of their low-carbon energy businesses to help finance transitions from oil and gas.

$1 = 0.8358 euros Reporting by Arno Schuetze, Abhinav Ramnarayan and Isla Binnie. Editing by Mark Potter

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