Spain's antitrust watchdog opens probe into utility Endesa

MADRID, Dec 17 (Reuters) - Spanish competition watchdog CNMC said on Thursday it had launched a preliminary antitrust investigation into Spain’s power utility Endesa, a subsidiary of Italy’s Enel.

CNMC will examine whether Endesa abused its dominant position as manager of connection points in the electricity transmission network that are shared by several producers.

Endesa’s interest in doing so would have been “to benefit generation energy companies in its group” CNMC said in a statement.

The watchdog has up to 18 months to investigate and decide. It did not say what fine or sanctions, if any, Endesa could be facing.

In a statement, Endesa denied any wrongdoing and said it would fully cooperate with the investigation.

“Rather than abusive practices of individual nature, this is a widespread problem resulting from the current regulatory deficiencies, which we hope will be clarified during the CNMC procedure”, Endesa said, adding that the Spanish regulation on this issue was about to be changed.

Endesa shares were up 0.6% in afternoon trading, shrugging off the CNMC announcement. (Reporting by Emma Pinedo; editing by Isla Binnie and Andrei Khalip)