One down, two left for €2.5bn French gas network

A consortium of Enagas, Borealis, Antin Infrastructure Partners and Oman Oil Company said it will not present a binding offer for French oil company Total’s gas network on February 4. That leaves two consortia in the running.

One of the three consortia in the running for TIGF, the French gas network owned by French oil company Total, announced earlier this week it will not be tabling a binding bid for the asset. Binding bids are expected on February 4.

The quitting consortium was led by Spanish gas firm Enagas, Borealis – the infrastructure arm of the Ontario Municipal Employees Retirement System – French fund manager Antin Infrastructure Partners and the Oman Oil Company.

The two consortia still in the running for TIGF include:

– Belgian utility Fluxys, French state-backed bank Caisse des Depots et Consignations (CDC), AXA Private Equity, CNP Assurances, Predica – Credit Agricole’s insurance business – and sovereign wealth fund the Abu Dhabi Investment Authority;

– French energy group EDF, Italian gas firm Snam, and Singaporean sovereign wealth fund GIC;

TIGF manages a 5,000-kilometre gas distribution network spanning four French regions and transporting some 12 percent of the country’s natural gas. It also operates several storage assets accounting for 22 percent of French storage capacity, the company states on its website.

Given TIGF’s role in transporting a significant chunk of France’s natural gas, the sale has caught the French government’s eye and is opposed by unions.

A winner could be announced as early as February 13, although the transaction is expected to take several months to reach financial close. One source close to the sale process said the level of bank interest in TIGF has been “incredible”.