Abu Dhabi’s ADNOC seals $5.8bn refining and trading deal with ENI, OMV

ADNOC’s chief executive Sultan Al-Jaber said the equity partnership was a ‘one of a kind’ deal. (AFP)
Updated 27 January 2019

Abu Dhabi’s ADNOC seals $5.8bn refining and trading deal with ENI, OMV

  • The transaction is one of the largest ever in the refinery business
  • The partners will also establish a joint trading venture

ABU DHABI: Italy’s Eni and Austria’s OMV have agreed to pay a combined $5.8 billion to take a stake in Abu Dhabi National Oil Company’s (ADNOC) refining business and establish a new trading operation owned by the three partners.
The transaction, which expands ADNOC’s access to European markets, furthers Eni’s diversification away from Africa and gives OMV a downstream oil business outside Europe. It was hailed as a “one of a kind” deal by ADNOC’s Chief Executive Sultan Al-Jaber.
“The whole oil and gas industry hasn’t seen a transaction of this size and sophistication,” he said.
Under the agreement, Eni and OMV will acquire a 20 percent and a 15 percent share in ADNOC Refining respectively, with ADNOC owning the remaining 65 percent, the three companies said in statements on Sunday.
The partners will own the same proportions of the joint trading venture, they added.
OMV said that it would pay around $2.5 billion, while Eni said it would pay around $3.3 billion, giving ADNOC Refining, which has a total refining capacity of 922,000 barrels per day, an enterprise value of $19.3 billion.
The agreement includes output from the Ruwais Refinery, the fourth largest single site refinery in the world.
The new trading venture will expand market access for ADNOC Refining’s products with export volumes equivalent to approximately 70 percent of throughput.
“We are already well-positioned in Asia and we want to increase our market share there .... but this will also help us to have access to European markets and beyond,” Al-Jaber said.
Eni has signed several deals in the Middle East in recent months as it expands outside Africa where it is the biggest foreign oil and gas producer.
The company’s CEO Claudio Descalzi said the partnership would increase its global refining capacity by 35 percent.
“This transaction, which allows us to enter the United Arab Emirates’ downstream sector...(will make) Eni’s overall portfolio more geographically diversified, more balanced along the value chain, more efficient and more resilient to cope with market volatility,” he said.
OMV described the deal, which is set to close in the third quarter of 2019, as a major milestone in relation to its “Strategy 2025” plan. It said it would finance the deal primarily out of its cash flow.
“With (this transaction) OMV has established a strong integrated position in Abu Dhabi...spanning from upstream production to refining & trading and petrochemicals,” CEO Rainer Seele said.
Founded in 1971, ADNOC has undergone major change since Al-Jaber’s appointment in 2016, part of wider economic reforms led by Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al-Nahyan, who witnessed the signing of the three-way agreement.
Al-Jaber has embarked on privatising its services businesses, ventured into oil trading and expanded partnerships with strategic investors.

Ski resorts out in the cold as France eases lockdown

Updated 27 November 2020

Ski resorts out in the cold as France eases lockdown

  • Frustrated resort operators count the cost of holiday season restrictions

MEGEVE, France:  Megeve, in the foothills of Mont Blanc, was gearing up to welcome back skiers before Christmas after a COVID-19 lockdown was eased.

But France’s government — while allowing cinemas, museums and theaters to reopen from Dec. 15 — says its ski slopes must stay off limits until 2021, leaving those who make their living in the Alpine village frustrated and, in some cases, perplexed.

“When you’re outside, when you’re doing sport outdoors, that’s not the moment when you’re going to give COVID-19 to someone. COVID-19 is passed on in enclosed places,” said Pierre de Monvallier, director of ski school Oxygene, which operates in several resorts including Megeve.

Announcing a phased easing of the lockdown on Tuesday, French President Emmanuel Macron said it was “impossible to envisage” re-opening ski slopes for Christmas and New Year, and that he preferred instead to do so during January.

“It felt like the door had been slammed in our face,” said Catherine Jullien-Breches, the mayor of Megeve, whose green slopes are generally covered with snow by mid-December.

“Unfortunately it’s a real drama for the economies of the villages and the winter sports resorts.”

People who live within 20 km of France’s Alpine resorts will able to visit from this weekend, but with the lifts staying shut, the main draw is missing.

“It’s like going on holiday on the Cote d’Azur and being told the sea is off limits,” said David Le Scouarnec, co-owner of Megeve’s Cafe 2 la Poste.

The problem for the resorts — and the hotels, restaurants, and workers who depend on them for their livelihood — is that their season is short, and they will have little time after the New Year to claw back lost revenue.

Other European authorities are wrestling with the same problem. Italy’s resorts regions are seeking approval for restricted skiing, but Austria, whose biggest cluster of the first wave of the pandemic was at the ski resort of Ischgl — where thousands were infected — is skeptical.

Prevarication cuts little ice, however, with Mathieu Dechavanne, Chairman and CEO of Compagnie du Mont-Blanc, which operates cable cars at Megeve and other resorts.

He said who could not understand why the government allowed trains and metros to operate, but barred him from re-opening. “It’s like we’re being punished. We don’t deserve this. We’re ready.”