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German, Dutch ministries cannot confirm report on 20 billion-euro TenneT takeover talks

BERLIN (Reuters) -The German and Dutch economy ministries said they cannot confirm a Bloomberg news agency report saying Berlin was in discussions to pay more than 20 billion euros ($21.32 billion) for Dutch electricity grid operator TenneT's German unit.

"No, I cannot confirm this," a German ministry spokesperson told Reuters, adding: "We don't speculate about figures and sums that are not fixed yet."

A spokesperson for the Dutch Economic Affairs Ministry said they could not comment on any prospective sale price, as the final decision to sell the German subsidiary has not yet been made, but the Dutch government is negotiating with Germany.

Important conditions of a sale would be that the Dutch and German arms of the company are able to retain advantages such as their joint purchasing power, and that they are able to continue collaborating on building infrastructure for cross-border interconnections and offshore wind farms in the North Sea.

"That is also in Germany's interest, but we will have to have good agreements about that before we move to a sale," they said.

In a letter to parliament on Feb. 7, Dutch Energy Minister Rob Jetten and Finance Minister Sigrid Kaag said they expected a decision on whether to sell TenneT no earlier than mid-March.

TenneT said earlier this month that it will explore the possibility of a full sale of its German operations to the German state to ensure sufficient investment in networks in both the Netherlands and Germany.

TenneT said at that time that its German division required 15 billion euros in equity and acknowledged that both the Dutch and German governments prefer to fund, control and own their national electricity grid.

($1 = 0.9383 euros)

(Reporting by Christian Kraemer and Toby Sterling, Writing by Miranda Murray, Editing by Rachel More and Sharon Singleton)