Energy, Financial Services, Funds, Gas, Gas Market , Latvia

International Internet Magazine. Baltic States news & analytics Tuesday, 02.06.2020, 10:57

Multinational fund might have won auction of Gazprom's shares in Latvia's Conexus

BC, Riga, 06.01.2020.Print version
A multinational fund is thought to be the winning bidder in an auction selling Russian gas giant Gazprom's stake in Conexus Baltic Grid (Conexus), the Latvian natural gas transmission and storage operator, according to unconfirmed information obtained by LETA.

More details about the winning bidder might be released around mid-January. 

As reported, Russia's Gazprom energy company has sold its stake in Latvia's Conexus Baltic Grid (Conexus), the unified natural gas transmission and storage operator in Latvia, at an electronic auction on Monday, Gazprom reported.

The auction offered a 34.09911 percent stake in Conexus, and there were two bidders at the auction. The name of the winner has not been disclosed yet.

The starting price of the shares was EUR 79 mln, and the minimum price - EUR 70 mln. The downward step was EUR 1 mln, and the upward step was EUR 500,000.

Latvian Economics Minister Ralfs Nemiro (KPV LV) said earlier that Gazprom has the rights to sell its shares in Conexus to any investor. At the same time, he noted that Latvia will not participate in the auction.

The other private shareholder in Conexus - Marguerite Fund - announced earlier that it has signed a sale purchase agreement with Marubeni-backed MM Capital Infrastructure Fund 1 from Japan regarding the divestment of Marguerite Fund’s 29.06 percent interest in joint-stock Conexus.

Latvia, as the third shareholder, has a preemptive right in Conexus shares, therefore any transaction related with Conexus will be reviewed by the Cabinet of Ministers. It is not yet clear when the Cabinet of Ministers might review this issue.

Conexus Baltic Grid, which has taken over natural gas storage and transmission functions from Latvijas Gaze, was established on December 22, 2016. Conexus is Latvia’s natural gas transmission and storage operator managing the Underground Gas Storage facility in Incukalns and the gas transmission system connecting the Latvian gas market with Lithuania, Estonia and the northwestern region of Russia.

Conexus belongs to Augstsprieguma Tikls (34.36%), Gazprom (34.1%) and Marguerite Gas I (29.06%).

The Public Utilities Commission has certified Latvian natural gas transmission and storage operator Conexus Baltic Grid (Conexus) on two conditions that have to be fulfilled by the end of this year.

One of the conditions provides that supervision over Incukalns underground natural gas storage facility as of January 1, 2020, should be conducted by a company that is not directly or indirectly linked with Russian Gazprom and related companies.

The second condition was included already in last year's decision and is still in force - by January 1, 2020, Conexus is required to make sure that Gazprom does not have ways to implement direct or indirect control over Conexus. Also, by January 1, 2020, Conexus has to prevent the risks of conflict of interest posed by Marguerite Gas I and Marguerite Gas II participation in both Conexus and Latvijas Gaze. Conexus will have to report every other month to the regulator on progress in these matters and the planned steps.

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