Latin America: EPM to bid against Brookfield for Gas Natural unit

27 April 2018 - 12:00 am UTC

Empresas Públicas de Medellín (EPM) announced on 26 April that its board had approved a controlling bid for gas distribution company Gas Natural. 

EPM said it would seek financing for a share tender offer or a competing tender offer to that of Brookfield, according to the announcement published on the Colombian Stock Exchange (BVC).

Gas Natural is majority-owned (59.06%) by Spain’s Gas Natural Fenosa through its subsidiary Gas Natural Internacional. 

The next largest shareholder is public utility Empresa de Energía de Bogotá (EEB) with a 25% stake. EEB has declared that it is not interested in selling its shares. 

Brookfield Infrastructure Partners (BIP) said in its FY17 earnings call on 9 February that it would seek to increase its 11% stake in Gas Natural Fenosa’s local distribution company.

Brookfield and its institutional partners acquired the 11% stake in December for CAD 105m (USD 81.56m) with Brookfield contributing CAD 30m.

In that announcement, BIP CFO Bahir Manios said: “This will include a private purchase of the remaining interest held by the largest shareholders, as well as a minority tender offer for the remaining minority interest.”

According to the Canadian institutional investor’s results, this would imply an equity investment of about USD 600m to acquire nearly 100% ownership – including USD 170m from BIP and the rest from unspecified institutional partners.

Brookfield is understood to have made an offer of COP 72,696 (USD 26.68) per share in early April.