GAS NATURAL REINVENTS ITSELF AS NATURGY AND DOES NOT RULE OUT CORPORATE OPERATIONS

The multinational Gas Natural Fenosa has adopted today a new name, Naturgy, in order to reinvent itself for the new stage that Francisco Reynés will lead, which has ensured that it does not rule out facing corporate operations in the coming years as long as they are profitable.

The Catalan multinational has today held its first General Shareholders' Meeting in Madrid, having moved its headquarters to the capital of Spain at the beginning of October, during the political crisis in Catalonia, and the Board has been key in many aspects.

First of all, the company, which turns 175 this year, has approved a new name, Naturgy, with which the multinational seeks to shorten its name, give it an international profile, symbolize that it is a global energy company, and not just a gas company, and at the same time show their commitment to the environment, Reynés said.

The new brand - which uses blue as a corporate color, accompanied by an orange butterfly - replaces the current denomination, Gas Natural SDG, in force since 1992.

The change of name implies that the parent company will now be called Naturgy Energy Group SA and that the multinational will be present in the IBEX35 with the NTGY ticker.

Secondly, the Board was the debut of Francisco Reynés, ex-CEO of Abertis, as CEO, who will present tomorrow in London the new strategic plan of Naturgy until the year 2022.

Although Reynés did not want to go into details about this new strategic plan, he has advanced that the shareholder remuneration will be "attractive" - ow it is one euro per share - and that it will include an "important level of investments".

Reynés has assured that "does not rule out" dealing with corporate operations, but that the magnitudes of the next strategic plan have been prepared taking into account only organic growth, given that the company has "enough projects" of this type to guarantee its growth until 2022.

The corporate operations are "an opportunity, but not an obligation" or an "obsession", remarked Reynés, who has subordinated any operation to comply with "minimum returns".

On the other hand, although Naturgy will present its results of the first semester at the end of July, Reynés wanted to advance in the Board that the recurrent net profit of the multinational reached 481 million euros until May, 34% more than in the first five months of last year, although he recalled that this figure does not take into account extraordinary impacts of 2018 or 2017.

In his first meeting in Madrid, Reynés has stated, regarding the transfer of the headquarters of this multinational to the Spanish capital, that "nothing is ever done".

The Mallorcan manager has responded to a question about whether the headquarters would be forever in the Spanish capital, and commented that, as learned from his father, you should never use the words "always and never."

On the other hand, Reynés has advanced that it will not make investments so that its coal and nuclear power plants continue to be active in the event that the investment does not report profitability.

In this regard, he recalled that the coal power generation plants that do not meet the requirements that the European Union (EU) has established on emissions will have to close or their owners will have to make investments to adapt them.

Just today, Naturgy has announced that it has reached an agreement to sell its 70% stake in the South African company Kangra Coal Propietary Limited and the 100% it has in the Kenyan Iberafrica Power Limited to the companies Menar Holding and AEP Energy Africa Limited, respectively.

On the other hand, the Gas Natural Fenosa Shareholders' Meeting, which today is called Naturgy, today gave the green light to a smaller Board of Directors, which goes from 17 to 12 members, although there will be only one woman.

A complementary dividend of 0.67 euros per share has also been approved, which will be paid in cash on July 5, so that the total remuneration corresponding to 2017 will be one euro per share.

Today's Shareholders' Meeting was also relevant because Gas Natural, now called Naturgy, has suffered important changes in its shareholding in the last year -like the exit of Repsol- that have caused two funds, GIP and CVC, the latter of the hand of Corporación Alba, control 40% of the shareholding, although Criteria Caixa continues to be the largest shareholder, with 24.4% of the shareholding.

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Menar Holding