Repsol willing to spend USD 10 billion for asset acquisitions

November 22
6:21 AM 2013

Repsol Chairman Antonio Brufau said the oil producer is willing to spend up to USD 10 billion to acquire assets in the US, Canada and Northern Europe. The company intends to divest its stake in Gas Natural worth USD 7 billion and plan to use the proceeds to purchase unconventional oil and gas assets located in North America. Brufau told Bloomberg in an interview that it may go for two or three smaller deals than make a large acquisition. Brufao also said that oil sands were not part of the firm's acquisition plan.

Brufao said Repsol may resort to borrowing to reach the USD 10 billion after it selling its Gas Natural stake. It may also purchase a firm with debt having an enterprise value of up to USD billion. The three main rating firms have rated Repsol's debt a step above junk.

Brufau added, "The target has to add value in terms of portfolio, risk, profitability and technology. If we sell Gas Natural, it's to grow." Repsol is favoring developed countries with legal stability in its efforts to rebalance after the confiscation of YPF, its unit in Argentina. The Argentine government seized the unit last year. In June, Repsol rejected a compensation offer from the government for the unit and instead filed a claim against Argentina at the World Bank arbitration unit.

Repsol shares have recovered since then. This year, the stock has posted a 20% gain, outperforming the Bloomberg Industries Integrated Oils index which only jumped 4.2%.

Brufau said Repsol will not sell its stakes in Gas Natural to give back cash to its investors. He added that the company considered divesting its stake in the utility since it did not anymore have a strategic reason to continue owning the shares after it sold its liquefied natural gas assets to Royal Dutch Shell this year. Gas Natural is the biggest gas utility in Spain.

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