Mitsui buys 15% of Mexico’s largest natural gas distributor

The Japanese investment group spent close to $93m buying the stake in Gas Natural Mexico, which serves 1.3m people across Mexico. The sellers were Spanish utility Iberdrola and a group of other shareholders in the Mexican distributor.

Mitsui & Co, the energy and infrastructure arm of Japanese conglomerate the Mitsui Group, has purchased a 15 percent stake in Gas Natural Mexico (GNM), the country’s largest natural gas distributor, the Japanese company announced in a statement today.

The deal will see Mitsui spend $82 million acquiring a 13.25 percent stake in GNM from Spanish utility Iberdrola and a further 1.75 percent from a group of GNM’s shareholders for $10.8 million. Both transactions are subject to regulatory approval, with the 1.75 percent stake sale also dependent on the closing of the Iberdrola purchase.

GNM serves 1.3 million residential, commercial and industrial customers across 17,000 kilometres, spanning two of the country’s largest cities – Mexico City and Monterrey – and developing hubs Toluca and Bajio, among others. Mitsui says GNM has “a top market share both in terms of the number of clients and gas distribution volume”.

The GNM purchase adds to the Japanese company’s other Mexican natural gas businesses, which include an LNG terminal at Manzanillio and six gas-fired power plants throughout the country. Mitsui added it has high hopes for the Mexican natural gas sector:

“Mitsui expects further strong growth in the natural gas market in Mexico based on the continuous demand increase caused by the steady and sustainable economic growth of the country and the diversification of supply thanks to the shale gas development in Mexico and the US,” the company said.

The company’s activities across Latin America also include a gas distribution business serving seven Brazilian states.