EPH acquires 49% stake in SPP

The Czech company Energetický a Průmyslový Holding (EPH) has acquired the 49-percent stake in the gas utility Slovenský Plynárenský Priemysel (SPP) formerly owned by E.ON Ruhrgas and GDF Suez, the SITA newswire reported on Tuesday, January 15. The purchase price was €2.6 billion; the Reuters newswire reported that the German and French firms will each receive €1.3 billion by selling the firm Slovak Gas Holding B.V., through which they controlled the SPP stake. EPH is jointly owned by the Slovak financial group J&T, and by Czech businessmen Petr Kellner and Daniel Křetínský.

The Czech company Energetický a Průmyslový Holding (EPH) has acquired the 49-percent stake in the gas utility Slovenský Plynárenský Priemysel (SPP) formerly owned by E.ON Ruhrgas and GDF Suez, the SITA newswire reported on Tuesday, January 15. The purchase price was €2.6 billion; the Reuters newswire reported that the German and French firms will each receive €1.3 billion by selling the firm Slovak Gas Holding B.V., through which they controlled the SPP stake. EPH is jointly owned by the Slovak financial group J&T, and by Czech businessmen Petr Kellner and Daniel Křetínský.

The Slovak Economy Ministry, which acts as shareholder for the 51-percent SPP stake still owned by the state, said it expects the transaction to be completed by the end of January. "Negotiations between the outgoing shareholders of Slovak Gas Holding and EPH were completed, while the antitrust authorities' stance and the position of the financing banks are still expected,” said ministry spokesman Stanislav Jurikovič. "We expect that the transaction will be accomplished by late January and that EPH will subsequently take over control of SPP," he said.

The Slovak state has the first option to buy some of the shares from their new owner – it negotiated this right in exchange for approval of the deal, the Sme daily wrote. After the transaction is completed, the ministry will select a consultant to perform due diligence on SPP, based on which the government will decide whether to buy 100-percent of the shares in its parent company. "Until the transaction is completed, we cannot take any specific steps towards selecting the consultant," Jurikovič said, as quoted by SITA.

The government approved the sale of the 49-percent stake in SPP in December when it approved draft documents which the state, as majority shareholder in SPP, needed to sign with the potential new owner of the minority stake for the sale to go ahead.

Sources: SITA, Sme

Compiled by Zuzana Vilikovská from press reports
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