AMSTERDAM, July 18 (Reuters) - Dutch lender Rabobank and investment firm KKR have formed a consortium seeking to buy utility Eneco, the bank said on Thursday.
A consortium set up by Royal Dutch Shell and Dutch pension fund manager PGGM had been seen as the lead bidder after France's Total SA and Italy’s Enel dropped out last month.
The 53 Dutch cities that own Eneco, estimated by analysts to be worth about 3 billion euros ($3.4 billion), launched the sale in May.
Infrastructure fund Macquarie and Japan’s biggest trading house, Mitsubishi Corp, are also interested in buying Eneco, sources have told Reuters. French nuclear energy utility EDF has also been named by sources as an interested party.
"A collaboration with an organisation such as Eneco that has a strong green profile fits very well with Rabobank’s ambition to serve as the primary banker of the energy transition," Rabobank said in a statement. "This transaction should accelerate the energy transition in the Netherlands."
The privatisation has been long delayed, as management sought a flotation or partial sale, while shareholders wanted to keep all options open, including an outright sale. (Reporting by Anthony Deutsch; editing by Jason Neely)