Gas Natural sells Brookfield gas business in Colombia for 482 million euros

Gas Natural Fenosa has sold its 59.1% stake in Gas Natural SA to the Canadian fund Brookfield SA ESP, a Colombian company engaged in the distribution and retail sale of gas, for 482 million euros.

Barcelona (Spain), Nov 18 (EFE) .- Gas Natural Fenosa has sold its 59.1% stake in Gas Natural SA ESP, a Colombian company dedicated to distribution to the Canadian Brookfield fund and gas retailing, for 482 million euros.

For the Spanish multinational, this transaction will have a positive accounting impact on its result after taxes. Approximately 350 million euros in fiscal year 2017, according to the CNMV, the stock exchange regulator.

The purchase transaction will be developed in two phases. that is expected to be executed this same year, a stake in Gas Natural ESP will be transferred, which will entail the loss of control in the latter by Gas Natural Fenosa.

Subsequently, explains the company that is chaired by Isidro Fainé, the remaining stake will be transferred through a direct takeover bid (OPA) or exclusion for the acquisition of control of the purchaser.

The closure of this second phase is expected in the first half of 2018 and is subject to the securities market and sectoral regulations colombiana.

In the last twenty years, the Colombian gas company has increased its number of customers from 400,000 to almost 3 million and the kilometers of its distribution network from 5,000 to more than 22,000 today.

The EBITDA and net attributable profit after taxes for the last twelve months of this activity in Colombia have amounted to 138 million and 35 million euros, respectively.

The economic conditions of the transaction imply 100% of Gas Natural ESP in 1,005 million euros, which represents a purchase price for 59.1% of 482 million.

The operation agreed, then, represents an equivalent valuation to approximately 7.3 times the EBITDA and 13.8 times the net profit, in based on the data of the last twelve months.

Until now, the capital of Gas Natural ESP was mainly in the hands of Gas Natural Fenosa (59.1%) and the Colombian Government through the Energy Company of Bogotá (25%). Colombia has had "especially in mind" the consideration offered by the buyer and his experience in the management of energy infrastructure, as well as "the protection of the value for minority shareholders ".

This sale, the energy company underlines, does not affect its willingness to maintain a dialogue with the Colombian authorities that avoids the procedure investment protection arbitration that had to be initiated in relation to its subsidiary Electricaribe, which was intervened by the Government of that country a year ago and is in the process of liquidation.

In this sense, the company has appealed to the Colombian authorities to cancel the intervention measure for liquidation agreed in March. "work to find an agreed, satisfactory and, above all, sustainable solution for the provision of electricity supply service in the area for the benefit of customers, employees, creditors and shareholders of Electricaribe. "

For the close of the 2017 financial year, Gas Natural Fenosa maintains its forecast of reaching a net profit of between 1,300 and 1,400 million euros. euros.

Indicates, in this regard, that it expects to offset part of the result of this operation with the advance in the execution of the efficiencies plan in progress, which will involve incurring some capture costs in fiscal year 2017 of approximately 100 million euros after taxes.

In addition, the sales of the shares in Italy, which will generate approximately 190 million euros of profit after taxes, can be closed at the beginning of the first quarter of 2018 and not in the current fiscal year.