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SANTIAGO, Dec 18 (Reuters) - Italian utility Enel on Friday received approval from shareholders of its lucrative South American units to spin off their assets, the first step in a two-part process it is pursuing to shift away from European markets and focus on Latin America.
Shareholders in Enersis, a Chilean-listed power holding company, and Endesa Chile, an electricity generator, voted in favor of the plan to restructure their South American assets.
However, final approval for the plan is subject to shareholders voting in favor of all the remaining proposals at Friday's extraordinary shareholder meetings.
On Thursday, Enel said it had tweaked its restructuring plan and gained the support of some key pension fund shareholders, as it sought to head off an expected shareholder rebellion at Friday's meetings.
The second step of the plan, due next year, would see Enersis and Endesa merged back into two new holding companies - one for Enel's Chilean assets, as "Enersis Chile," and one for the rest of its interests in Latin America, "Enersis Americas."
Enersis Chile will include the group's Chilean energy generation and electricity assets, while Enersis Americas will hold its assets from Argentina, Brazil, Colombia and Peru. (Reporting by Felipe Iturrieta and Fabian Cambero, writing by Anthony Esposito, editing by G Crosse)