E.ON Sells $4.5B Stake in Gazprom

E.ON has sold the 3.5 percent stake in Gazprom held by its subsidiary E.ON Ruhrgas. E.ON reached an agreement to sell a 2.7 percent Gazprom stake to Vnesheconombank (VEB), Russia's state-owned investment bank. The payment of the purchase price and the transfer of the stock to VEB are expected to take place in December 2010. The remaining 0.8 percent have already been sold in the market. E.ON proceeds from these transactions total €3.4 billion, resulting in a book gain of around €2.5 billion.

"The proceeds from the sale will take us a big step towards achieving our objective of generating roughly €15 billion through divestments and portfolio optimization by the end of 2013," E.ON AG CEO Johannes Teyssen said. "We will use these proceeds to further reduce our debt and to increase our flexibility for making new strategic investments. The sale of our Gazprom stake does not alter our Russia strategy. E.ON will remain an active investor in Russia in both power and gas. Our participation in power producer OGK-4 and in Yuzhno Russkoye gas field are examples of E.ON's very solid position in Russia."

In 1998, Ruhrgas began acquiring Gazprom shares in stages and by 2003 held about 6.4 percent of the company's equity. As part of E.ON Ruhrgas's acquisition of a stake in Yuzhno Russkoye gas field in Russia, Gazprom received from E.ON a share packet equal to 2.9 percent of its equity. This transaction reduced the Gazprom stake held by E.ON Ruhrgas to 3.5 percent.

"The purchase of Gazprom shares more than 10 years ago served to further solidify the partnership between Gazprom and Ruhrgas and to expand the two companies' scope for collaboration. Since then, this partnership has been further intensified. Examples include our involvement in the Yuzhno Russkoye exploration project and the two companies' participation in Nord Stream pipeline," E.ON Ruhrgas AG CEO Klaus Schäfer said. "The sale will in no way alter the continued solid partnership between Gazprom and E.ON and E.ON Ruhrgas," Schäfer emphasized. "In the future, we will continue to procure considerable amounts of Russian natural gas for the German and European markets and to work together closely on a number of joint projects in areas like innovative gas technology and natural-gas-powered vehicles."