E.ON said that in a first step, BKW acquires around 9% of the shares. Additionally, further 5% are sold to the Swiss energy provider Groupe E. In a second step, BKW is receiving a purchase option to acquire the remaining 7% until September 30, 2011.

The volumes of the first two tranches amount to approximately EUR346m. E.ON will receive further EUR180m if the purchase option is exercised.

The sale of E.ON’s stake is part of the company’s ongoing portfolio review. The proceeds are used to reduce leverage and to further strengthen E.ON’s credit profile, the company said.

Marcus Schenck, chief financial officer of E.ON, said: “The cooperation with BKW has developed well in the past few years and was financially successful. But alongside profitability, corporate freedom of action is important to us. This is limited, because the Canton Bern wants to hold the majority of the shares. Therefore we have decided to give up our shares.”