IFM tightens the nuts on the minority in its takeover on Naturgy and Fainé goes on the attack


Madrid

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Open war between opador and opado.
The IFM fund
, which no longer hides its interest in collecting as much support as possible, has increased these days the pressure on minority shareholders of Naturgy so that they go to their opa on the energetic. The message is firm: either they enter the shareholding, or the future of the gas company will not be exactly promising, something that has set off all the alarms within the Spanish company, which has launched the counterattack. And it is that just four days before the end of the deadline for all Naturgy shareholders of the 22.7% of the energy company to come to an end and pronounce on the takeover raised by the Australians-next Friday, October 8- , one and the other redouble their efforts to take the cat to the water.

In this ongoing struggle, even Isidro Fainé himself, president of the ‘la Caixa’ Banking Foundation – Naturgy’s main shareholder, with almost 30% of its capital through its ‘holding’ of investees CriteriaCaixa-
has had to come to the fore today to defend the strategy of the Spanish company
. The reason: the Australians having raised the elimination of the dividend without being anyone within Naturgy yet. Reaction of The CaixaThrough Criteria, they did not wait: they immediately sent the message that control is in the hands of the holding company by continuing to increase its position of first shareholder to 26.3% and with the aim of continuing to add. «The Naturgy dividend is a fundamental pillar of the income that the foundation receives and that it allocates entirely to its social work, with the investment of more than 500 million euros each year in social programs, culture and science, research and health, and education and scholarships, ”Isidro Fainé said in a statement after the market closed in relation to IFM’s future plans.

And it is also that, last week, IFM, we said, without still being in the shareholding or having the necessary support for the takeover to be a success, proposed the incorporation of two directors in the case of going ahead with its offer and taking the 22nd , 7% or at least 17% of the company. The fact is that it was no secret that IFM and its intentions for Naturgy did not like anything at the ‘la Caixa’ Foundation. What was difficult to imagine is that the president of the latter entity, Isidro Fainé, would take the final step of making it public and notorious.

Likewise, the banker reaffirmed that the foundation is fully committed to Naturgy and that they will continue to buy shares on the market. Its intention is to continue being the reference shareholder and reach a little less than 30% of the share capital. In this sense, the foundation has expressed “its firm commitment to what was unanimously approved by the board of said company in the framework of its strategic plan 2021-2025. And especially in relation to the shareholder remuneration policy provided for in the aforementioned plan ”.

In recent months the rejection of The Caixa the IFM takeover was evident. They were not looking for a direct confrontation, but they did make a common front with the council and the Naturgy presidency to try to reinforce themselves against the Australian fund.

The IFM movement to propose eliminating the dividend from the gas company did not sit well with the foundation from the beginning because Naturgy is one of its crown jewels in the face of social work. That is why Fainé has decided to take direct action on the matter and attack the intentions of the fund.

Beyond this, the statement issued by La Caixa represents a clear show of force with respect to those who wish to harm their interests, in this case the Australians. They do not want to miss the opportunity to convey that the control of Naturgy it is, to a large extent, in their hands as a reference shareholder and a great strategic partner of the group.

It must also be taken into account that IFM already reaps the rejection of 70% of the share capital, when adding the refusal to go to the takeover bid of the rest of the large funds that are present in the energy company, such as GIP, Rioja or Sonatrach, which makes it difficult that can achieve the purchase of 22.7% of the shareholding.

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