July 20 (Reuters) – Austrian utility Verbund’s (VERB.VI) plan for a capital raising of around 1 billion euros ($1.3 billion) could be delayed because of a government disagreement over whether to take part, a newspaper said on Tuesday.
Verbund, which is 51-percent owned by the Austrian state, said last month the government backed the planned capital increase and would participate in the issue with around 500 million euros, corresponding to its share in the company.
However, daily Der Standard reported that the Social Democrats, partner in Austria’s coalition government, would vote against participation in the capital raising at a government session on Tuesday.
Verbund was not immediately available for comment.
The Social Democrats want similar capital-boosting measures at other companies in which the state owns stakes, such as energy group OMV (OMVV.VI) and Austrian railway OeBB, Der Standard said.
The capital increase would be used to bring down Verbund’s debt, which grew last year after a 2 billion euro spending spree. [ID:nLDE65T04H]
Economy Minister Reinhold Mitterlehner, from the coalition’s conservative People’s Party, hopes to find a solution before the government’s next meeting on Aug. 24, the paper reported.
The Social Democrats and conservatives have ruled together since 2008 in a mostly stable broad-based coalition. ($1=.7706 Euro) (Reporting by Sylvia Westall; editing by Simon Jessop)