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|| ADIA's Infinity Investments SA acquired stake in gas pipeline for $800 million

adia-statoil.jpgInfinity Investments SA, a subsidiary of the the Abu Dhabi Investment Authority (ADIA), has acquired stake in a European natural gas transport venture for $800 million.

Norwegian energy firm Statoil has agreed to sell a 24.1 percent stake in a European natural gas transport venture to a group including Infinity Investments and the German insurer Allianz for $3.25 billion - Reuters is reporting.

ADIA is listed in the Middle East Investors Directory with the code BD43.

More details follows from Reuters

Norwegian energy giant Statoil agreed to sell a 24.1 percent stake in a key European natural gas transport venture to a group including the Abu Dhabi Investment Authority and the German insurer Allianz and the for $3.25 billion (17.35 billion crowns).

Statoil will retain a five percent stake in Gassled, the owner of gas pipelines and processing facilities on the Norwegian shelf, which last year piped about 100 billion cubic metres of gas to Britain, Germany, Belgium and France.

That amounts to some 16-17 percent of European Union annual gas consumption and is second in size only to Russian imports.

Last year ExxonMobil sold its eight percent Gassled stake to an infrastructure fund as oil firms shed non-core assets and allow financial investors to tap into the steady margins of the European energy infrastructure business.

The buyer of the stake is Solveig Gas Norway AS, a holding 45 percent owned by Canada Pension Plan Investment Board and 30 percent by Allianz Capital Partners, a subsidiary of Europe's biggest insurer Allianz SE.

The remaining 25 percent is held by Infinity Investments, a subsidiary of the Abu Dhabi Investment Authority. The deal still needs approval from Norwegian authorities.

"This transaction contributes to a further streamlining of Statoil's portfolio," Eldar Saetre, Statoil's executive vice president, said in a statement.

"We believe we can use our competence elsewhere with a higher return on our investment," Statoil spokesman Baard Glad Pedersen said, adding that the company's after-tax profit from the deal amounted to 9 billion crowns.

By retaining a stake in Gassled, Statoil will remain "part of the decision-making process", Pedersen said.

Carnegie analyst John Olaisen said the move was "positive" for the company and the price in line with what ExxonMobil received a year ago.

"It is not part of their core business... There is no doubt it does not yield the required return for Statoil," he said.

Until this deal is finalised, more than 70 percent of Gassled remains in the hands of state-owned Petoro and 67-percent state-owned Statoil, which the foreign companies said made it tough for them to have influence over strategic decisions on pipelines and access to new fields.

Norway's gas transport system is operated by Gassco. It consists of 7,975 km of pipelines and two major gas processing plants on the Norwegian coast - Kaarstoe and Kollsnes.

Last year Gassco, fully owned by Gassled, earned $4.93bn (27.24 billion crowns) in gross tariffs. It spent a total of 10 billion on its operations, investments and other "major projects", according to its website.



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