Australia ready to bet on Italian LNG: taking over 50% shares in OLT
Sydney-based First State Investment fund would be ready to take over from Uniper 48.24% shares in the company managing Leghorn-based regasificator
Few days after having announced forthcoming business development – besides traditional regasification, LNG small scale services and particularly LNG propelled ships' bunkering services will be provided within 2 years – German and Italian media announced that Australian First State Investments fund should be nearly taking over 50% shares controlled by German Uniper in OLT (Offshore LNG Toscana), company managing Leghorn-based regasificator.
As confirmed by Under-secretary for foreign affairs Guglielmo Picchi, the Italian Government would be paying particular attention to current transaction, stating that regasificator facilities are strategic assets for the country. The Government should undertake precautionary review before the sale”.
Disregarding domestic security, power supply is definitely a strategic sector, that's why FSRU Toscana, as the other (Rovigo and Panigaglia) regasificators were listed among the assets on which the Government – pinpoints Reuters – was entrusted a ‘golden power’, namely the right to enforce particular measures should shares be sold, potentially also preventing the deal.
For the time being, according to British press agency – which mentions three confidential sources -
the deal hasn't been formalized yet, however First State, Commonwealth Bank of Australia (CBA) assets management division, is ready to submit their binding offer to take over 48.24% in OLT held by Uniper, which had been trying to sell shares in Tuscany-based facility for the last couple of years. The whole investment would reach 800 million Euro.
Final decision would be made by the other shareholder, namely Iren, which controls 49.07% shares in OLT (the left 2.69% is controlled by Golar LNG Norwegian group).
The Italian multiutility can exert a co-sale right, essentially being allowed to sell their half to Uniper shares' buyer Should this happen, Leghorn regasificator would be totally controlled by the foreign group, and, considering the strategic role played by international gas flows within international geo-political balance, the Government appears worried by the fact.
However, while Panigaglia-based regasificator is 100% controlled by state-owmed Snam, Adriatic LNG, company operating Rovigo offshore terminal, results 70.7% controlled by Exxon Mobil, 22% by Qatar Petroleum and 7.3% by Snam.