British Gas sold its stake in the local gas distributor
November 15, 2012
The Vila-Manzano Group became Metrogas, after British Gas (BG) agreed to sell its holdings to the company Integra Gas Distribution LLC, owned by the local holding company.
According to the newspaper El Cronista Comercial, the board of Gas Argentino S.A (GASA), controlling 70 percent of the country’s main gas distributor, reported the update through a statement sent to the Buenos Aires Stock Exchange. There it appeared that BG had signed an agreement to sell its holdings in GASA to the local company that, according to the morning paper, belongs to Argentine businessmen Daniel Vila and José Luis Manzano.
Thus, “the 40,793,136 Class A shares held in GASA and another 38,941,720 Class B shares of BG Gas International B.V. in Metrogas they pass into the hands of Integra Gas Distribtion, which now manages to control 55 percent of GASA and 7 percent of the share capital of the gas distributor that belonged to BG.” The other 45 percent of GASA’s capital is in the hands of YPF.
The remaining 30 percent of Metrogas is distributed among the shares listed on the Buenos Aires and New York Stock Exchanges (20 percent), and an additional 10 percent in the hands of its employees, through the Participated Property Program.
In turn, in the same statement, it was pointed out that BG will also dispose of another approximately 7 percent that it directly controls in the gas distributor that offers services to two million users in the Buenos Aires area and 11 parties in the province of Buenos Aires.
In this way, the British group leaves Argentina, a country with which it still has a dispute with ICSID due to the lack of updating the rate that, it argues, damaged the value of its local investment.
However, there are two conditions for the operation to be carried out. First, it must be authorized by the competent regulatory bodies. Second, YPF must desist from making use of its preferential purchase right. In fact, the oil company has already tried to keep BG’s shares in GASA and Metrogas during the management of Spain’s Repsol and the Eskenazi family, but failed.