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German EEX acquires majority stake in Powernext to strengthen gas

Highlights

Germany-based European Energy Exchange (EEX), part of Deutsche Boerse Group, will become the majority shareholder of Paris-based Powernext from January 1 next year, the companies said Tuesday.

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According to both exchanges, the step is a logical development of the successful longstanding cooperation in power and gas started in 2008 and a further step towards the goal of becoming the preferred gas-trading platform in Europe.

EEX will hold 55.8% of the shares in Powernext, it said.

The necessary approval of the transaction by the relevant competition authorities has already been given, it added.


"We are looking forward to welcoming Powernext as part of the EEX Group," EEX CEO Peter Reitz said.

"With this step, EEX will strengthen the position of the whole group as the central market place for energy, energy-related and commodity products in Europe, thereby also broadening the international footprint of our mother organization Eurex Group," Reitz added.

The deal will be realized by an exchange of shares, the statement said.

From the 50% which EEX currently holds in EPEX SPOT, it sells a 36.7% share to HGRT, a consortium of the grid operators RTE, Elia and TenneT, it said.

In return, EEX receives HGRT's share in Powernext, it added.

In this context, EEX indirectly also becomes majority shareholder of EPEX SPOT, the operator of the spot power market for Germany/Austria, France and Switzerland.

GAS ACTIVITIES BUNDLED IN POWERNEXT

Along with this step, all natural gas activities of EEX Group will be bundled within Powernext in the future, the statement added.

That means that from 1 January, the complete product offering of PEGAS will be operated by Powernext.

"This new setup of PEGAS provides participants with easier access to the PEGAS markets as there will only be one membership and one common rulebook, pursuing our ambition to become the preferred gas platform in Europe," Powernext CEO Jean-Francois Conil-Lacoste said.

"At the same time, all customers that are currently admitted at either EEX or Powernext will come together on PEGAS. With regards to EPEX SPOT, we are happy to welcome power TSOs as direct shareholders, in a company closer to their fundamental interests," he added.

EEX will also adjust its organizational structure with three new members joining the management board in order to optimally support the development of the individual fields of business of the group, it said.

Conil-Lacoste, currently CEO of EPEX SPOT and Powernext, will be in charge of the power spot markets of the group which are operated by EPEX SPOT, it said.

Former E.ON Ruhrgas board member Egbert Laege will take over responsibility for the PEGAS markets in his position as executive director for gas markets.

Furthermore, he will become CEO of Powernext as of 1 April 2015 with Conil-Lacoste stepping down from Powernext to concentrate fully on growing EPEX SPOT.

In addition, Tobias Paulun will lead the new strategy division and join the board of EEX as well.

With the integration of Powernext, more than 300 employees will be working for EEX Group in 11 locations with 360 market participants currently admitted for trading across various platforms, the statement said.

Leipzig-based EEX was formed in 2002 by the merger of two regional German exchanges and counts utilities, energy companies and banks among its shareholders. In 2011, the derivatives exchange Eurex, owned by Deutsche Boerse and the Swiss Exchange, became the majority shareholder in EEX.

--Andreas Franke, andreas.franke@platts.com
--Edited by Maurice Geller, maurice.geller@platts.com