ZURICH, May 17 (Reuters) - Switzerland is preparing to part-privatise Axpo, the country's largest electricity producer, by allowing private investors to buy up to 49% of the company, documents published by local government show.
The proposed changes would take effect in 2021 should they win support from Axpo's government owners, including the cantons of Zurich, Aargau, Glarus and Zug in the coming months.
Although market liberalisation for residential customers is a work in progress, Axpo's owners said revamping "outdated" rules governing its ownership structure and defining a new strategy are necessary to prepare for it.
The canton of Thurgau, whose local utility has a roughly 12 percent stake in Axpo, posted documents detailing the proposed changes on its website this month.
In 2007, Switzerland began opening its electricity market in stages, first allowing larger commercial customers to choose their energy suppliers. (Reporting by John Miller; Editing by Alexander Smith)