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Enel Says 'No Decision' on Selling Bulgarian Stake

SOFIA, Bulgaria — Enel, Italy's largest utility, said Friday that it had not reached a decision on selling its 73 percent stake in Bulgaria's Maritsa East Three coal-fired power plant.

Inter RAO UES is prepared to buy the stake for 800 million euros ($1 billion) in a transaction that may be announced in two weeks, Bulgarian newspaper Trud reported, citing unidentified officials. Enel denied the report.

"The sale process is still ongoing and no agreement with Inter RAO or any other parties has been reached," Enel said. "Therefore, no decision has been taken by Enel, pending the finalization of the process."

Enel is holding a tender selling its Bulgarian assets. U.S. power producer AES Corporation is interested in acquiring the stake, Peter Lithgow, managing director of AES's Bulgarian unit, said in May. Inter RAO, Russia's state-run electricity trader, is also in talks to buy the stake.

A year ago, Enel completed a 700 million euro expansion of the Maritsa East Three lignite-fired power plant that raised its capacity to 908 megawatts, extended its operational life by 15 years and installed anti-pollution equipment to meet European Union environmental safety requirements.

AES is building a 1.3 billion euro power plant called Maritsa East One, which is in the Maritsa East mining and power generation complex, in southeastern Bulgaria.

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