Belgium TSO to float

9 June 2005 – The Belgium power grid system operator Elia is planning to raise capital through a public listing this month which could see the company valued at up to €1.26bn ($1.55bn).

According to a Financial Times report, Elia shares will be priced at between €22.5 and €26.5 when it is floated in Brussels on June 23 by two of its three shareholders, including Electrabel, the Belgian utility group.

In 2004 Elia achieved a group operating profit of €186m. Elia is expecting to raise up to €150m from a sale of new stock, using the funds for network investment.

The overall offer of €528m-€595m will give Elia, which has a legal 20-year monopoly on high-voltage grids, a 40 per cent free float.

Rules requiring the unbundling of power generation and grid operation mean that Electrabel and smaller rival SPE are reducing their combined holdings from 70 per cent to 30 per cent in Elia. They will sell stock worth up to €445m.

Elia owns all of Belgium’s 150 kV to 380 kV infrastructure and around 94 per cent of its 30 kV to 70 kV infrastructure. Elia’s system constitutes a crucial link between France, Europe’s leading exporter of electricity, and northern European markets. Elia runs a system extending over more than 8250 km, comprising some 800 transformer substations.