Amber Grid AB surged after BNS news service said Russia’s OAO Gazprom might sell its 37 percent stake in Lithuania’s natural-gas transmission company to comply with a request by the Baltic nation’s government.
The shares rose as much as 8.8 percent in intraday trading in Vilnius to 0.715 euro, the highest since trading began on Aug. 2 when Amber Grid was spun off from gas utility Lietuvos Dujos AB. They closed up 7 percent at 0.703 euro, valuing the company at 125 million euros ($169 million), according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Volume of 32,444 shares was the third-biggest ever.
Lithuania’s government, which owns 18 percent of Amber Grid, is asking Gazprom to specify how it will sell its holding in the utility to meet European Union competition rules, BNS reported today, citing a government spokesman. A Gazprom official said yesterday that the state-run Russian supplier was ready to sell its stake, according to BNS.
“Any sale would probably take place at a higher-than-market price, since preliminary estimates show the company is worth more than its current market capitalization,” Marius Ignotas, head of equity trading at Swedbank in Vilnius, said by e-mail.
The EU might consider helping Lithuania finance a purchase of the Amber Grid shares from Gazprom, EU Energy Commissioner Guenther Oettinger said last week. These comments also support the shares, SEB’s Lithuanian senior broker Arvydas Jacikevicius said by e-mail.