Australia's First State buys 45.1% of Germany's MVV for $816 mln

First State to buy EnBW/RheinEnergie stake in MVV

Pays 25.43 euros per share for 45.1% stake

City of Mannheim to keep 50.1% stake in MVV

Adds details on deal, context

FRANKFURT, April 2 (Reuters) - Australian infrastructure investor First State Investments has agreed to buy a 45.1% stake in German regional utility MVV Energie MVVGn.DE for 753 million euros ($816 million), it said on Thursday.

The stake, held by EnBW EBKG.DE and RheinEnergie RHEI.UL is being sold at a price of 25.43 euros per share, First State -- a unit of Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group 8306.T -- said, a discount of 3.3% to Thursday's closing price.

Reuters last week reported First State as the prospective buyer of the stake, which had been put up for sale by EnBW and RheinEnergie last year in a process run by Perella Weinberg.

"We are impressed by the great progress the company has made in the renewable energy transition as well as by the excellent position along the whole energy value chain," said Niall Mills, the partner responsible for infrastructure at First State.

"As the second major shareholder of the company we would like to contribute our expertise in the areas of energy and infrastructure to the benefit of MVV, its clients and the cities and communities it supplies."

Since the stake is above 30%, First State is obliged to make a bid for all MVV shares under German takeover regulation but the city of Mannheim, MVV's largest shareholder with a 50.1% stake, will keep its stake, MVV said.

Both First State and the city of Mannheim have an interest in a stable free float of MVV shares. It currently stands at 4.8%.

First State's investment comes less than four months after French private equity group Ardian bought 26% in EWE LANDWE.UL, another German regional utility, underlining the appeal of partly regulated power assets in Europe's top economy.

($1 = 0.9232 euros)

(Reporting by Christoph Steitz; Editing by Elaine Hardcastle)

((christoph.steitz@thomsonreuters.com; +49 69 7565 1269; Reuters Messaging: christoph.steitz.thomsonreuters.com@reuters.net))

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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