• Eni to separate renewables and retail arm to attract fossil-fuel shy investment

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      Patrick Lavery

      Combustion Industry News Editor

Eni has announced that it is to list or sell a minority stake in its new-ish retail and renewable power business, Eni gas e luce. While such spin-offs are not uncommon for energy companies coming from fossil fuel backgrounds, the stated reasoning on the part of Eni’s executives is interesting, as they see more potential for a separate entity to raise funds because of some investors’ preference against investing in fossil fuel companies. Chief financial officer Francesco Gattei told the Financial Times that Eni’s move to spin off the company so as to attract investment was to “present to the market a vehicle, a new company, that is not measured with the logic of an oil and gas player”. A sale is expected to take place in 2022, with Eni gas e luce having 10 million customers across six European countries and expecting to have a renewable power generation capacity of 5GW by 2025.

Valuations of renewables-based companies have “surged” in the past year, as the FT puts it, while oil and gas companies have had a rough pandemic, but Mr Gattei does not see it as a changing of the guard, saying it is “not a sunset for the oil and gas sector…if you destroy your legs, you fall.” He also said that “I have to invest in renewables as fast as I can, [but on] the other hand I have to invest in decarbonising the upstream. This is the model that we have to build and the market has to recognise.”