Spain's Gas Natural keeps pay-out forecasts unchanged after CGE buy

lunes 13 de octubre de 2014 06:25 GYT

MADRID Oct 13 (Reuters) - Spain's Gas Natural said on Monday it was leaving its 2015 payout plans unchanged after announcing on Sunday a $3.3 billion takeover offer for Chile's biggest electricity distributor Compania General de Electricidad (CGE).

Spanish oil company Repsol and lender Caixabank hold over 60 percent of Gas Natural shares between them.

The Spanish utility also left earnings forecasts unchanged, saying it expects net profit of around 1.5 billion euros ($1.9 billion) in 2015 and core profit, or EBITDA, of around 5 billion euros next year.

The acquisition will be through an all-cash offer of 4,700 pesos ($7.92) per share.

Analysts at Barclays said in a note that the acquisition seemed expensive and posed questions on the company's dividend policy. The Spanish firm is paying a 30 percent premium to CGE's closing share price last Friday.

"This acquisition might raise some concerns around (Gas Natural's) prospective capital allocation as in the latest business plan the focus of the company was more on cost efficiencies, organic growth in regions where Gas Natural has a critical mass, and sustainability of the dividend policy," the analysts said.

Gas Natural shares were down 0.8 percent at 21.62 euros per share at 0930 GMT.

The Spanish company has been looking to push further into Latin America, where it sees growth potential as European economies falter and tough energy reforms in its home market drag on profit. (1 US dollar = 0.7888 euro) (1 US dollar = 593.3600 Chilean peso) (Reporting by Paul Day; editing by Sarah White and Keiron Henderson)