Galp mulls €500m stake sale in gas distribution assets

The Portuguese energy group said it has mandated two investment banks to study the sale of a minority participation in its gas distribution business.

Portuguese energy group Galp Energia has mandated two investment banks to study the sale of a minority stake in its gas transmission business, the firm told the Portuguese regulator yesterday.

Galp did not disclose which banks it had hired nor did it give any further details on the transaction. The firm could not be reached for comment at press time.

However, Reuters is reporting that Galp plans to set up a special purpose vehicle that will hold the entirety of its gas transmission operations – a 100 percent stake in concessionaire Lisboagas, a 93 percent holding in Lusitaniagas and a 55 percent stake in Setgas. The three companies hold concessions for the distribution of gas in central Portugal, including the Lisbon area.

Galp would then seek to sell a stake of up to 45 percent in the special purpose vehicle to interested investors in a deal that could net it about €500 million, including a premium over the assets’ regulated asset base (RAB). According to the news agency, Galp’s gas distribution assets have a RAB of just over €1 billion.

The assets are thought to have generated pro forma earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) of €115 million in 2009.

The Portuguese energy firm said in its statement to the competition authority that the divestments were in line with the financial strategy it outlined last May.