State to buy majority share of gas network for €27 million ({{commentsTotal}})

Natural gas pipes. Photo is illustrative.
Natural gas pipes. Photo is illustrative. Source: (AFP/Scanpix)

State-owned Elering has signed an agreement with Fortum Heat and Gas OY to buy the Finnish company's controlling stake in AS Võrguteenus Valdus, which in turn owns Estonia's gas transmission network.

The 51 percent of the company's shares will cost 27.5 million euros, slightly less than estimates, and far from the 60 to 70 million which the state would have had to fork out for the entire company. The government approved the plan to buy a majority hold in the network last week, with the agreement being announced today.

The deal is subject to a number of requirements such as Competition Authority approval, and that the other shareholders do not exercise their right for first purchase.

“Uniting the electricity and gas network operations will create synergy and will add improvements for clients and shareholders,” Elering CEO Taavi Veskimägi said, adding that Estonian energy consumers can feel more secure, especially at a time of crisis.

If all boxes are ticked, the sale could go ahead as early as the end of the year, with Elering, which currently operates the electricity grid, taking over at the beginning of the new year.

The Parliament stated in 2012 that the gas network operator and Eesti Gaas, the seller of gas, can not be owned by the same party from 2015, which is currently the case. The Ministry of Economic Affairs said it hopes the requirement will now be filled, adding that it still has ambitions to become the sole shareholder in AS Võrguteenus Valdus.

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