Italy’s Eni aims to finalise Enilive stake sale by year-end, CEO says

ROME (Reuters) -Italian energy group Eni expects to complete the sale of a minority stake in its biofuel unit Enilive by the end of 2024, Chief Executive Claudio Descalzi said on Monday.

“The (sale) plan is in progress, there are still issues that are being discussed… our goal is to close by the end of this year, (talks) have accelerated,” Descalzi said, when asked about the sale at a conference organised by daily Il Giornale in Milan.

Reuters reported in April that the sale of minority stakes in both Enilive and bioplastic unit Novamont could fetch around 1.3 billion euros ($1.4 billion) in total and be completed by year-end.

The disposal of a minority stake in the biofuel unit is part of Eni’s broader strategy to create separate entities dedicated to specific businesses – called ‘satellites’ – and develop them with the help of deep-pocketed investors.

“When we announced the strategy (in March) we were thinking (to clinch a deal) a little further ahead, but I think there is a good chance we will close (an agreement on) Enilive, with the same approach as Plenitude, by the end of this year,” Descalzi said.

Eni in March sold a minority stake in its retail and renewable unit Plenitude to Swiss asset management Energy Infrastructure Partners in a deal that has valued its unit around 10 billion euros ($10.7 billion), including debt.

($1 = 0.9328 euros)

(Reporting by Romolo Tosiani and Elvira Pollina; writing by Romolo Tosiani and Francesca Landini; Editing by Giulia Segreti/Keith Weir)