Taqa confirms interest in Naturgyi which is seeking an agreement with Criteria

Taqa, an energy company from Abu Dhabi, confirmed yesterday to the National Securities Market Commission (CNMV) the objective of launching a takeover offer (tendered offer) for 100% of the Spanish gas company Naturgy if it closes the pact for the purchase of 40% with CVC and GIP funds.

Oliver Thansan
Oliver Thansan
17 April 2024 Wednesday 17:45
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Taqa confirms interest in Naturgyi which is seeking an agreement with Criteria

Taqa, an energy company from Abu Dhabi, confirmed yesterday to the National Securities Market Commission (CNMV) the objective of launching a takeover offer (tendered offer) for 100% of the Spanish gas company Naturgy if it closes the pact for the purchase of 40% with CVC and GIP funds. Operation, that of the public offering, in which, if the negotiations culminate positively, it would have the participation of Criteria, the investment holding of La Caixa and historical controlling partner of the Spanish energy company. Several sources involved in the negotiations have expressed their optimism and consider the final agreement close.

Taqa made it clear in his communication that the negotiations are taking place on a double track. The first, with the CVC and GIP funds, to buy them the 40% of Naturgy's capital that they both control and that are limited to reaching an agreement on the price. The second, with Criteria, to agree a shared control agreement and possibly to launch a joint bid for 100% of the capital, in which each of the two bidders could assume different percentages.

The strategic importance of the operation, which affects the security of the country's energy supply, was evident yesterday with the flurry of statements from several ministers. From Washington, where he is attending the meeting of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the Minister of Economy, Carlos Cuerpo, assured that the Central Government will analyze the arrival of Taqa "when it materializes". Cuerpo added that "we have a very clear vision in Spain regarding the need to protect our strategic interests" and "we also have the necessary regulatory instruments", with reference to current regulations, which allow the Spanish Government to block the or put conditions on the management, according to Efe.

The vice-president and Minister of Finance, María Jesús Montero, was more verbose and stated that "our idea and our task is that hopefully there are other investors who can join this company and that, in this case , the competition is what must determine what the final result will be". He added that his idea is that the capital that enters this type of company is "clear, transparent and, if possible, Spanish capital".

The head of Industry, Jordi Hereu, for his part, limited himself to pointing out that "these are conversations between private groups", so he assured that "at the moment we are not making a statement".

Yesterday's day began with the decision of the CNMV to suspend the quotation of Naturgy's shares, which started the day with new increases, driven by the possibility of a takeover bid in the coming days.

The CNMV asked for explanations from those involved and shortly afterwards the statement, mentioned above, from Taqa arrived, in which it informed of its intentions and that the talks were alive, although not concluded.

The information provided by Taqa complemented and expanded on the same line provided on Tuesday by the Criteria holding, the investment arm of La Caixa, which had confirmed that it was negotiating with a possible new partner for Naturgy, although it denied negotiating with the two fund, with which the Abu Dhabi group is indeed talking.

When the trading of the gas company's titles reopened, the price soared again. At the end of the day, the increase was 6.13%, and the price was set at 22.84 euros. In this way, in just two days, the stock market capitalization, stock market value of 100% of Naturgy, has risen by almost 2,000 million euros, to exceed 22,000 million, a 10% increase.

Taqa is an energy company from the emirate of Abu Dhabi, 90% controlled by the public Abu Dhabi Developental Holding (ADQ), and its activities focus on water and electricity management. It was created in 2005 and has an annual income of around 14,000 million euros, employs 7,000 people and operates on four continents.