Temasek and Sinopec 'both eyeing stake' in Spanish gas firm

PHOTO: Temasek and Sinopec 'both eyeing stake' in Spanish gas firm

MADRID - Singapore investment company Temasek Holdings and Chinese oil group Sinopec aim to snap up a multi-billion-euro stake in Spain's Gas Natural, the Financial Times reported yesterday.

The two groups had contacted Spanish oil firm Repsol separately to say they were interested in buying its €4.7billion (S$7.9billion) stake in Gas Natural, the paper said, citing people close to the process.

Spanish company Repsol has a 30per cent stake in Gas Natural and wants to sell most of the investment so as to leave itself with a 5 per cent share in the gas firm.

Repsol has been selling assets to replace income lost after the nationalisation of its Argentinian subsidiary YPF by Argentine President Cristina Kirchner's government in April last year.

In February, Repsol announced it was selling a part of its liquefied natural gas business to Royal Dutch Shell for US$6.65billion (S$8.2billion).

Repsol and its largest investor, CaixaBank, as well as the Spanish government, all approved of Temasek and Sinopec as potential investors, the Financial Times said.

A spokesman for Repsol declined to confirm or deny the report.

He noted, however, that the group had commented on the Gas Natural investment in late July.

Repsol financial director Miguel Martinez said at the time that part of the reason for holding a stake in Gas Natural was that it could profit the group's liquefied natural gas (LNG) business.

But that reason had "disappeared" with the sale of the LNG stake in February, he added.

The group was not in a rush to sell its share in Gas Natural and it preferred to do so in agreement with CaixaBank and Gas Natural, he said.

Repsol's 2012-2016 strategic plan proposes €19billion in international investments, of which 80per cent is destined for exploration and production.

The strategy includes investing €2billion in Brazil, €2.3 billion in the United States, €1.2 billion in Venezuela, €400 million in Russia and €20 million in Spain.