News Column

Lithuania, Latvia eye EON shares

May 5, 2014

VILNIUS/RIGA



Lithuania and Latvia will decide soon whether to buy shares in their respective national gas utilities currently owned by Germany's EON, government officials said.



That would make the two governments major shareholders of key gas infrastructure as they seek to reduce their need for Russian gas imports by attracting alternative suppliers, including of liquefied natural gas (LNG).



European nations are looking to cut their dependence on Russian gas in response to the crisis in Ukraine following Russia's annexation of Crimea, which has prompted concern Russia could cut off supplies to Ukraine if the dispute deepens.



EON's stakes in Lithuanian and Latvian gas and power companies are worth a total 350 million euros ($484 million) at current share prices, Reuters calculations showed.



The German company, which holds 38.9 per cent in the gas utility Lietuvos Dujos and gas transmission system operator Amber Grid, with a total market price of 111 million euros ($153 million), declined to comment.



Lithuania'sAmber Grid and Lietuvos Dujos will hold annual shareholders' meetings on April 30, same day as EON. In a sign of the government's preparations to take over the gas grid company, parliament voted to include Amber Grid in a list of companies important to national security, along with Lietuvos Dujos. Parliament has also started to debate amendments that could allow the government to take key decisions in Lietuvos Dujos and Amber Grid by simple majority, without the need to have two-thirds of votes as required today by the companies' statues.


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Source: Oil & Gas News


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