Temasek, Sinopec 'approach Repsol over Gas Natural stake'

MADRID (REUTERS) - Singapore's sovereign wealth fund Temasek and Chinese refiner Sinopec have approached Spanish oil company Repsol over its 4.7-billion-euro (S$7.9 billion) stake in Gas Natural, the Financial Times reported on Sunday.

Repsol said in July it was considering disposing of its Gas Natural stake because the agreed sale of its liquefied natural gas business to Royal Dutch Shell, due to close this year, diminishes the holding's strategic rationale. No final decision has been taken, and Repsol has received interest from other parties, the FT said, citing people close to the deal. Repsol is not in a rush to sell its stake, meaning a sale would come down to an attractive price, according to the FT.

A spokesman for Repsol declined to comment on the report. Temasek also declined comment.

Gas Natural, controlled by bank La Caixa and Repsol, since it was created from the merger of several gas groups in 1992, faces a shareholder shake-up as both companies look to sell down stakes. Last month, a source close to La Caixa said the bank could take advantage of any potential sale of Repsol's 30 per cent stake in the gas group, to sell a small part of its own 35 per cent holding.

Temasek and Sinopec have existing relationships with Repsol, meaning both La Caixa and the Spanish government view them as stable potential shareholders in Gas Natural, the FT said.

Temasek, which has been boosting investments in the energy sector, has a 6.3 per cent stake in Repsol, while Sinopec formed a US$17.8 billion (S$22.2 billion) joint venture with the company to exploit Repsol's Brazilian oil deposits in 2010.

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