Italy’s Snam, one of Europe’s biggest gas pipeline operators, is looking to lift about 4 billion euros off its balance sheet as part of plans to spin off its domestic gas business, sources familiar with the matter said.
In a refinancing to be carried out by a dozen or so banks, the debt would end up with Snam’s Italgas unit, which will be spun off by distributing Italgas shares to Snam investors and listing them, six sources familiar with the refinancing said.
That would leave Snam more focused on its goal of becoming a prime mover in integrating Europe’s patchwork of grids and making Italy a European gas hub, in line with the European Union’s desire to wean itself off Russian gas imports.
The company, which has a strategic alliance with Belgium’s Fluxys, already controls French grid TIGF and Austrian pipeline TAG and recently bought a 20 percent stake in the Trans Adriatic Pipeline that will bring Azeri gas into Europe.
It is interested in German gas grid Thyssengas and Austria’s Gas Connect Austria, as well as a stake in Greece’s DESFA.