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Criteria Caixa analyzes with the Government the entry of an emirate fund into Naturgy

Date: May 22, 2024 Time: 10:24:09

New movements at Naturgy. CriteriaCaixa, the investment holding company of the la Caixa Foundation and majority shareholder of the gas company with 26.7% of the capital, is analyzing with the Government the entry into the shareholding of a fund from the United Arab Emirates. The idea is that the CVC and GIP funds – now in the hands of BlackRock – get rid of the 40% that they have between them, valued at about 8,000 million euros.

However, the possibility of changing only part of the capital and not a takeover bid (public acquisition offer) are not ruled out. In any case, the entry of a new investor with a significant percentage would require the endorsement of the Government, since Naturgy is a strategic company for Spain. The multinational, for example, is a shareholder in Medgaz, the gas pipeline that channels gas from Algeria to Spain. This was reported this Monday by La Vanguardia and confirmed by La Información.

This medium already published before the general meeting of shareholders, which was held on April 2, that movements were expected in the gas company due to the greater pressure from CVC to resolve its exit without losing its initial investment and with the benefit of the dividends that He has been paid for the last six years. Now, the objective of Criteria Caixa, chaired by Isidro Fainé, would be to formally agree with the new shareholder on a kind of joint co-management, so that Spanish interests would have pre-eminence and veto power in major strategic decisions. Until 2016, La Caixa and Repsol were the reference partners in the group – then Gas Natural Fenosa – and since 2000 they maintained a shareholder agreement.

Reynés has the trust and support of Isidro Fainé

Criteria Caixa would have postulated in the possible agreements the continuity of Francisco Reynés as executive president in an independent capacity, and retaining the functions he currently holds. The possible exit of CVC and GIP is nothing new but the funds would be tightening the screws now after the gas company’s price has lost a quarter of its stock market value so far in 2024. GIP, which entered in 2016 in Naturgy, it was recently acquired by BlackRock and adds 20.6% of the capital, while CVC became a shareholder of the energy company in 2018 and, together with the March family, participates in the Rioja vehicle, which adds 20.7%. % of capital.

In February 2022, Naturgy announced the Geminis project, a split into two companies of the multinational that, by dividing the businesses, would also facilitate the exit of capital from interested shareholders, but the project, which is not viewed favorably by the Government, was paralyzed after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and remains stranded despite the fact that Reynés himself continues to bet on him. In addition to the stake in CaixaBank or the one it maintains in Telefónica, Criteria Caixa has always had Naturgy as one of its reference investees as a source of dividends for the la Caixa Foundation.

Operation of greater significance and complexity for CriteriaCaixa

This search for a new shareholder for Naturgy is the most profound and complex operation that Criteria Caixa currently has on the table. This operation is part of the turnaround that the holding company is carrying out in its portfolio of industrial holdings in large corporations in crucial sectors of the economy. Naturgy has a very large shareholding and little space, which makes it less attractive for the rest of the international funds and institutional investors. In addition, we must add the recent expulsion of MSCI Spain from the company, one of the world’s benchmarks, due to the lack of liquidity as a consequence, among other issues, of the reduced ‘free-float’.

Unlike GIP and CVC, IFM wants to continue growing capital and the Australian fund already exceeds 15%. The fund run by Jaime Siles in Spain aspires to a second seat on the board of directors and is close to achieving the 17% that was set as a goal in the partial takeover bid that it launched in January 2021 – then it reached 10.8% – . The Australians have allocated more than 1 billion euros to acquire additional shares operating in the market without making noise.

The Government is also analyzing the entry of BlackRock into the capital after purchasing GIP and this possible change in the ownership of the participation has already sparked criticism from the partners of the PSOE Executive.

* This website provides news content gathered from various internet sources. It is crucial to understand that we are not responsible for the accuracy, completeness, or reliability of the information presented Read More

Puck Henry
Puck Henry
Puck Henry is an editor for ePrimefeed covering all types of news.
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