Abu Dhabi's IPIC may seek majority stake in Austria's OMV - analysts

16 January 2012 12:28  [Source: ICIS news]

LONDON (ICIS)--Analysts are examining whether Abu Dhabi’s International Petroleum Investment Company (IPIC) is seeking to acquire majority-control of Austrian oil, gas and petrochemical group OMV, an investment bank said on Monday.

A report in an Austrian daily, Die Presse, said IPIC, currently a 24.9% shareholder in OMV, may have parked additional OMV shares at numerous funds awaiting approval from the Austrian economy ministry to increase its stake.

“We believe IPIC buying may have been supporting OMV’s shares when it increased its stake to 24.9% [from 20.4% last year]," said analysts at Prague-based Wood & Company.

"Its formal request to increase its shareholding to above 25% may well suggest that it intends to purchase additional OMV shares,” the analysts said in a note to investors.

On 3 January, Austria’s competition authority, the Bundeswettbewerbsbehorde, cleared an application received from IPIC in December to allow it to raise its stake in the Austrian major to “at least 25%”.

A stake of 25% or more would give the Abu Dhabi state investment firm a “blocking minority stake” under Austrian law, enabling it block major strategic initiatives at OMV.

However, under a recently introduced law, the economy ministry has gained veto rights over investments of 25% or more in important Austrian infrastructure companies by investors from outside the EU, the European economic area or Switzerland.

In addition to its OMV holding, IPIC's portfolio companies include Canada’s NOVA Chemicals and Spain’s energy and petrochemicals firm CEPSA, as well as a stake in Austria-based petrochemicals and plastics firm Borealis, which is partly owned by OMV.

By: Will Conroy
+44 20 8652 3214

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