Romania's Electrica's sets low-end share price in privatisation

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SymbolPriceChange
GLE.PA41.97-1.48
C50.94-2.54

* Prices shares at 11 lei vs 11-13.5 lei range

* Raise 1.95 bln lei ($605.8 mln) for investments

* Romanian retail investors get about 21 pct of shares

* EBRD buys 8.6 percent stake (Recasts with share price, adds EBRD, sale manager comments)

By Luiza Ilie

BUCHAREST, June 27 (Reuters) - Romanian utility Electrica has set a bottom-of-the range price for shares in its stock market flotation, being privatised under a 4 billion euros ($5.5 billion) aid deal led by the International Monetary Fund.

Electrica, which supplies power to 3.5 million customers in the European Union state and has a regulated, guaranteed profit margin, set the final price of its shares at 11 lei apiece, having previously set a range of between 11 and 13.5 lei.

Electrica's flotation, involving the sale of 51 percent of the company's equity to raise 1.95 billion lei ($605.8 million)to help fund its investment plans, was one of at least three selloffs the government had committed to carry out this year.

Flotations of minority stakes in coal and hydro power producers Oltenia and Hidroelectrica have been delayed most likely until next year.

"Pricing ... is the result of our desire to create the premises for good aftermarket trading, not just to sweep everything off the table," Mirela Ionescu, investment banking director at Raiffeisen Bank Romania and the sale manager told Reuters.

"Obviously, investors want as much upside as possible. It is a trade-off between investors' desire to raise their yield and the company's desire to not sell at a discount," Ionescu said.

The bank also set a price of $13.66 for Electrica's global depository receipts (GDR), which will trade in London.

Romanian retail investors were given about 21 percent of the shares on offer, with the rest going to large institutional investors. The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), which had already invested about 6.7 billion euros across 360 projects in Romania, bought an 8.6 percent stake for more than 320 million lei.

"Our participation demonstrates the EBRD's commitment to supporting the government's plans for increased privatisation of the energy sector," Nandita Parshad, the EBRD's Power and Energy director said in a statement.

Parshad said the bank would work with Electrica to align its corporate governance with international standards. "This will provide additional comfort and confidence to potential future investors."

The share sale ran from June 16 to June 25 on the Bucharest Stock Exchange and in London. Citigroup (NYSE: C - news) , Raiffeisen and Societe Generale (Paris: FR0000130809 - news) managed the listing. ($1 = 3.2287 Romanian lei) ($1 = 0.7331 Euros) (Additional reporting by Radu Marinas; Editing by David Holmes)