Naturgy soars almost 4% on the stock market due to the possible entry of new investors

MADRID, 16 Abr.

Naturgy soars almost 4% on the stock market due to the possible entry of new investors


Naturgy shares rose 3.8% on the stock market around 9:30 a.m. this Tuesday, to 21.6 euros per share, after learning that Criteria is studying reorganizing the energy company's capital with the entry of new investors to shield the control of the gas.

One of the possible investors would be a private group from the United Arab Emirates (USA), specifically from Abu Dhabi, which would keep all or part of the capital that is currently in the hands of the CVC and GIP funds - which control 41.3 % of the total-- and that they would have reached the time limit for investments of this type of funds.

The same sources have explained that the conversations are in a very initial phase, and the objective of the movement would be to renew the majority of control of Naturgy so that it continues to be in Spanish hands.

The gas company is considered a strategic company, so the entry of new institutional investors requires the approval of the Government.

Criteria's desire would be to agree on the management of the company with the new investor, in order to maintain control and have veto power over major decisions.

More than 87% of Naturgy's capital is in the hands of its significant shareholders, including Criteria, 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-owned Sonatrach (4.1%).

So far this year, the energy company, the largest gas company and the third largest electricity company in Spain, has left almost 23% of its share price on the stock market, and the National Securities Market Commission (CNMV) warned at the beginning of April about the company's low floating capital.

In January 2021, IFM launched a partial takeover bid for Naturgy with the objective of acquiring 22% of the company's capital, which was responded to by Criteria Caixa's decision to strengthen its shareholding in the energy company, increasing its participation with various purchases in the market up to the current 26.7% and with the aspiration of reaching up to 30%.

Finally, the acceptance of IFM's partial takeover remained at 10.83% of Naturgy's capital, below the minimum of 17% that was set as the objective.

Since then, the Australian fund has been carrying out share purchase operations to increase its weight, many of them taking advantage of the dividend it had just received from Naturgy to invest in increasing its participation in the company, in addition to making use of its right to appoint a counselor.