Debt-laden Sorgenia 'selling RE'

The parent group of Italian energy company Sorgenia said efforts are underway to stabilise the business, as reports claimed its renewables assets are being sold to help reduce its €1.8bn ($2.5bn) debt.

Holding company CIR – Sorgenia’s majority-owner – issued a statement updating investors on the restructuring of its subsidiary, admitting that “the company is engaged in reducing the risk of situations of financial tension”.

Sorgenia – in which Austrian electricity company Verbund has a 46% holding – is one of Italy’s biggest power suppliers.

At the end of 2013, the company said it will have to cut operating costs by 20% to cover the debt, which it owes to Banca Monte dei Paschi di Siena, Intesa Sanpaolo , UniCredit and Mediobanca, among other Italian and foreign banks.

According to Reuters, Sorgenia has signed an agreement to sell 5MW of solar assets for just under €20m and talks are underway to sell permitted wind projects in France.

It was also reported that a debt-for-equity deal is one of the options on the table.

CIR’s statement added that negotiations are in progress with the lenders regarding the restructuring of the debt, but that “to date this proposal has not been considered as sufficient by the lending banks, who have informed Sorgenia that they are working on a possible alternative deal, which could be implemented if the shareholders are not prepared to take part in the financial restructuring package”.