(Adds CGE share reaction, detail)
MADRID, Oct 13 (Reuters) - Spain’s Gas Natural said on Monday it was leaving its 2015 payout plans unchanged after announcing a $3.3 billion takeover offer for Chile’s biggest electricity distributor Compania General de Electricidad (CGE) .
The acquisition, announced on Sunday, one of the biggest takeovers in Chile’s history, will be through an all-cash offer of 4,700 pesos ($7.92) per share, a premium of over 70 percent to CGE’s average share price over the past 12 months.
CGE shares, which had risen last week after the company had said it had received an offer approach, shot up nearly 30 percent to 4,640 pesos when trade in them restarted on Monday. The stock was trading 60 pesos short of the offer price, indicating the market has some doubts on the final deal and does not expect a higher offer.
Analysts at Barclays said in a note that the acquisition seemed expensive and posed questions on Gas Natural’s dividend policy.
“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.
Chilean broker BICE Inversiones was positive on the buy, saying it confirmed its view that the electricity sector was operating at a discount and was an attractive investment in the medium term.
The buy will give Gas Natural access to a swathe of energy assets in South America, including electricity distribution in Argentina, Chilean capital Santiago’s chief gas supplier, and stakes in liquefied natural gas businesses at a time when energy-hungry Chile is seeking to increase its use of LNG.
Gas Natural shares were trading flat at 21.7 euros per share at 1430 GMT. Spanish oil company Repsol and lender Caixabank hold over 60 percent of Gas Natural shares between them.
The Spanish utility said on Monday that earnings forecasts were unchanged, and 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.
Gas Natural 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 in Madrid; Additional reporting by Rosalba O'Brien in Santiago; Editing by Sarah White, Keiron Henderson and Marguerita Choy