Eni launches project to list or sell stake in new retail-renewable business

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Italian energy group Eni said it was planning to sell or list a minority stake in its new retail and renewable energy business as it reported a jump in profits in the first quarter.

In a statement on Friday, it said it was planning to list or sell a minority stake in the business that includes renewable energy and retail energy sales next year, confirming a Reuters report from March.

Several European energy companies, including Spain’s Repsol , aim to spin off parts of their renewables business to raise money to reduce debt and pay for the shift away from oil and gas.

In the first quarter Eni said its adjusted net profit jumped almost five times to 270 million euros ($327 million) as firmer oil prices offset lower production. That was below an analyst consensus provided by the company of about 440 million euros.

The group, which confirmed its full-year production target of about 1.7 million barrels of oil equivalent a day, said it would be investing around 6 billion euros this year.

Europe’s big energy companies profited from higher oil prices to report big increases in earnings, putting the worst of the pandemic-driven slump behind them.

“With the pandemic situation gradually improving … we have been able to improve our outlook for the coming months, forecasting free cash flow generation in 2021 of more than 3 billion euros,” Chief Executive Claudio Descalzi said.

Photo: The offices in Italian gas company Eni’s in San Donato Milanese, near Milan. EPA-EFE/Andrea Canali

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