Australian company to buy share of Slovak gas pipeline

Macquarie bank wants one-third stake in EP Infrastructure, which oversees gas flow from Ukraine.

Illustrative stock photoIllustrative stock photo (Source: Sme)

A potential investment by the Australian investment group Macquarie would also give it a say in the Stredoslovenská energetika (SSE) energy company, as it moves to buy into EP Infrastructure, according to information available to the Sme daily. This company is an umbrella group for Eustream, the half state-owned operator of gas pipeline as well as other energy companies in Slovakia and the Czech Republic.

EP Infrastructure is part of the Energetický a priemyselný holdingu (EPH) led by Czech businessman Daniel Křetínský and Slovak financier Patrik Tkáč. Macquarie should acquire one-third of EP Infrastructure shares, according to Sme. The remaining two-thirds would be still controlled by Křetínský and Tkáč.

EPH concern did not comment on this information.  

If the deal is concluded, Australians get indirect influence on the Eustream company in which the Slovak state has a 51-percent share. For Slovakia, Eustream is of strategic importance, as it transports gas from Ukraine to Europe, bringing revenues of several hundred millions of euros per year. In 2015 alone, Eustream profit amounted to €410 million, with €775 million in revenues, according to the Finstat.sk analytical website.

Analysts see the Macquire investment fund entering Slovak strategic companies rather as stabilising the pressure on closing the gas pipeline in Ukraine which would bring a loss of tens of millions of euros for Slovakia. They also see fund investors as slightly more cautious than financial sharks and speculate that they could push through gradual decrease in debt burden of the company.

The deal is also expected to change the ownership relations in EPH, according to Sme.

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