Carlyle, CVC Eye Natural Gas Madrid Assets

(Reuters) – Carlyle, CVC and funds linked to Morgan Stanley and Macquarie are readying binding bids for Gas Natural’s Madrid gas-distribution assets ahead of a Nov. 30 deadline, people familiar with the matter said on Friday.

The deal, valued by sources at more than 500 million euros ($743 million), is part of a string of asset disposals aimed at cutting Gas Natural’s (GAS.MC) 22 billion euro debt pile by the end of the year.

On Nov. 3 the Spanish power company’s chief executive, Rafael Villalesca, said there were six or seven potential bidders for the assets but the sale process could take another two months. [ID:nL3268319]

The extra bidders could include European utilities that already distribute gas in Spain, as well as other infrastructure funds.

Carlyle, the U.S. private equity firm, is working with Iberian buyout firm Magnum Capital Industrial Partners, some of the people said. Carlyle [CYL.UL], Gas Natural, Macquarie (MQG.AX) and Morgan Stanley (MS.N) declined to comment.

Magnum Capital and CVC [CVC.UL] did not immediately reply to requests for comment.

The auction was first reported by Reuters in September.

(Reporting by Quentin Webb in London, Greg Roumeliotis in Amsterdam and Judy MacInnes in Madrid; Editing by David Cowell)