Italian power giant Enel SpA (EN) has a war chest of €12 billion – €14 billion available to consolidate its role in the European power market, according to comments attributed to the group’s chief executive Fulvio Conti.

The group is thought to be interested in Spanish assets that Gas Natural may consider selling in the wake of a successful bid for Endesa, although a full counter bid for Endesa is unlikely. Another area of interest is the rapidly growing Eastern European sector, where Enel already has interests in Slovenia.

The group is cash rich currently having recently divested its Wind telecoms outfit, but would also consider a share buy back programme if the acquisitions fund is not entirely depleted.

Conti took over the group in May, also plans to hike dividend payments from €0.36 to at least €0.42 a share for 2005-2007.