Eni SpA is discussing the sale of a portion of its 33 percent stake in Portuguese oil producer Galp Energia SGPS (GALP) SA to Angola’s Sonangol EP, a person with knowledge of the matter said.
Eni won’t sell Angola’s state oil company all its holding, valued at 3.7 billion euros ($4.8 billion) at today’s price, because the Portuguese government doesn’t want the African country to have too much control, the person said, declining to be identified before a deal is reached. The remaining holding may be sold to financial investors, he said.
Eni, Italy’s largest oil company, dropped a plan to sell the stake to Petroleo Brasileiro SA (PETR4) last year. Chief Executive Officer Paolo Scaroni said last month he’s ready to sell again because the company doesn’t want to be a minority investor in the long term. Galp’s most valuable assets are holdings in Brazil’s largest oil fields.
Under Lisbon-based Galp’s shareholder agreement, Eni must win permission for a sale from Amorim Energia, a 33 percent shareholder controlled by billionaire Americo Amorim and partly owned by Sonangol, and state-owned Portuguese lender Caixa Geral de Depositos SA, which has 1 percent of the company. The agreement is in force until March 2014.
An Eni spokeswoman declined to comment as did officials at Galp and Caixa Geral. Nobody was available to comment on the telephone for Amorim Energia, and an e-mailed request wasn’t answered.
Scaroni said on an investor conference call last month that the stake is worth at least 3.7 billion euros.
‘Discussing With Partners’
“We’re discussing with our partners at Galp and at the right time we’ll comment about Eni SpA (ENI) selling its shares in Galp,” Sonangol board member Batista Sumbe told reporters on Feb. 24 “We’re in talks and it’s premature at the moment to provide more information.”
Angola, a former Portuguese colony, became sub-Saharan Africa’s second-largest producer after the development of offshore oil fields over the last 10 years, giving Sonangol the cash to make investments overseas.
Galp holds 90 percent of its 2.9 billion barrels of oil reserves in Brazil and has a target to reach 300,000 barrels a day of production, according to its website. The company has 330,000 barrels a day of refining capacity in Portugal.