Italian oil company Eni will sell a stake in its compatriot oilfield services provider Saipem.
According to a statement by Eni, Saipem’s largest shareholder, the company will divest a 12.5% plus one share to Fondo Strategico Italiano (FSI). Bloomberg has reported that the stake was worth 440.9 million euros ($486.5 million) at Tuesday’s closing price.
Eni’s CEO, Claudio Descalzi, said: “The transaction announced today marks a significant step in Eni’s transformation strategy. It enables us to focus on our core activities and to enhance our financial flexibility. The additional financial resources will be used to develop the very significant oil and gas reserves we have discovered over the past few years and to strengthen our balance sheet in line with our targets.”
Saipem raising cash
Also, Saipem has decided to launch a rights issue, scheduled for completion in 1Q 2016, aiming to raise up to 3.5 billion euros. The company plans to use the cash to repay the debt to Eni, which amounts to 6.1 billion euros.
Related to the rights issue, Eni and FSI will subscribe all ordinary newly issued shares to an extent corresponding to their ownership stake in Saipem and option rights connected.
In a statement on Tuesday Saipem said the rights issue was “a key pillar in Saipem’s strategy of reaching financial independence from Eni, which has hitherto been its main lender providing 93% of gross debt. To this aim, the cash proceeds from the rights issue will be used for the repayment of the Saipem Group’s indebtedness.”
Stefano Cao, Saipem CEO, said: “Today’s announcement marks a turning point for Saipem: we have a new shareholder structure, a strengthened balance sheet a new strategic plan. The capital raise of up to €3.5 billion, strongly supported by Eni and Fondo Strategico Italiano, will bring our net debt back in line with our peers, at a level which I believe will secure an investment grade credit rating and, therefore, obtaining a competitive rate for the refinancing of €3.2 billion of outstanding debt. This provides a strong financial platform on which to build Saipem’s future.