Naturgy rises 3.4% on the stock market after confirming CriteriaCaixa "preliminary" conversations with an investor

MADRID, 16 Abr.

Naturgy rises 3.4% on the stock market after confirming CriteriaCaixa "preliminary" conversations with an investor


Naturgy shares rose almost 3.4% on the stock market this Tuesday after CriteriaCaixa confirmed that it is holding "preliminary" conversations with a potential investment group that is in contact with some of the energy company's key shareholders and interested "in reaching a potential partner agreement" with the La Caixa investment vehicle.

Specifically, the titles of the first gas company and third largest electricity company in Spain were the best value on the Ibex 35 in the stock market session, registering a rise of 3.36% at the end of the day, up to 21.52 euros, its highest price. high at closing since the end of February.

Naturgy shares, which soared by more than 8% at some points during the day, lost strength throughout the session, although they ended up recording their best trading day since October 14, 2022.

So far in 2024, Naturgy has been experiencing a drop in its price of almost 25%, weighed down mainly by its reduced free float.

And more than 87% of the energy company's capital is in the hands of its significant shareholders, where Criteria stands out, which has 26.7%, three foreign investment funds - CVC, with 20.7%; GIP -in the process of being absorbed by the giant BlackRock-, with 20.6%; and IFM, with 15% - and the Algerian state company Sonatrach (4.1%).

The fall in the price of the company's securities accelerated in the middle of last January, when the review period of the MSCI indices began, subsequently leading to the exclusion of Naturgy due to its low floating capital.

In a statement to the National Securities Market Commission (CNMV), Criteria explained that the conversations with this investment group "are in a preliminary stage", so the final result cannot be predicted.

The investment arm of La Caixa assured that it is not part of the negotiations with the rest of Naturgy's shareholders and that if an agreement is reached, it will be publicly communicated.

This Monday, 'La Vanguardia' announced that Criteria is in talks with a group from the United Arab Emirates (UAE), specifically Abu Dhabi, that could take over the stakes in the CVC and GIP funds, and that the desire would be to agree on the management of the company with the new investor, in order to maintain control and have veto power in major decisions.

Criteria indicated that it "regularly maintains conversations to explore alliances with possible partners" to contribute to the recomposition of its shareholders under different formulas.

These meetings also seek to "deepen its transformation and accelerate its energy transition" and are part of the entity's long-term commitment to Naturgy.

In this sense, it referred to the press release published on April 2, in which it "reaffirmed its commitment as a long-term investor to Naturgy's industrial project" and reiterated its explicit support for the transformation plan in which it is immersed. the company.

Once the maturity period of their investments has expired, CVC and GIP, which entered in 2019 and 2016, respectively, could be willing to sell if a good offer arises, taking into account that anyone who reached a stake greater than 30% would have to launch a 100% takeover bid.

Although neither of these two large funds currently has any capital gains in their participation, in recent years they have benefited from the dividend policy of the company chaired by Francisco Reynés, so that since their entry into the shareholding GIP would have received about 1,800 million for CVC's 1,200 million. For its part, Criteria would have accumulated latent capital gains in Naturgy close to 1,600 million euros.