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Eni CEO open to looking at Saipem exit but not in a hurry

BY LIAM MOLONEY

ROME -- Eni CEO Paolo Scaroni said Italy' s biggest energy company by market value is open to assessing its options regarding its controlling stake in oil services company Saipem, which is being investigated for possible corruption in Algeria, but he ruled out buying out Saipem' s minority shareholders and added that he is in no hurry.

We don' t like what is happing concerning reputation issues with Saipem, said Mr. Scaroni at Eni' s shareholders' meeting in Rome to approve the 2012 accounts. "We are open to consider various options, but we don' t want to take rushed decisions."

In February, Milan prosecutors placed Mr. Scaroni under investigation as part of the Saipem inquiry. Prosecutors are investigating whether Saipem, which is 43% owned by Eni, paid bribes to secure billions of dollars in natural gas contracts over a period of years leading up to 2009. Saipem has denied wrongdoing, as did Eni. Mr. Scaroni repeated the denial of any wrongdoing.

I don' t think it' s an option to buy out Saipem' s minority shareholders, as no rival company would use Saipem' s services if it were totally owned by Eni, said Mr. Scaroni.

Dow Jones Newswires

 

05/13/2013

 

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