French oil major Total agrees to buy Direct Energie in €1.4 billion deal

PARIS: French oil major Total said it will buy a majority stake in electricity retailer Direct Energie in a €1.4 billion deal that will make it the number two power supplier in France after utility EDF.

Total said it had entered into an agreement with the controlling shareholders of Direct Energie to acquire 74.33 percent of the firm’s capital at a price of €42 per share, ex-dividend of €0.35 per share, representing overall an acquisition price of approximately €1.4 billion.

“This friendly takeover is part of the group’s strategy to expand along the entire gas-electricity value chain and to develop low-carbon energies, in line with our ambition to become the responsible energy major,” Total chief executive and chairman Patrick Pouyanne said in a statement.

Once the acquisition is completed, Total will launch a tender offer for the rest of Direct Energie’s shares at the same price of €42 per share, which represents a 30 percent premium over Direct Energie’s April 17 closing price and a 24 percent premium over its three-month average price.

The offer thus values Direct Energie at about 12.5 times its 2018 projected core earnings, Total added.

Direct Energie’s board has unanimously approved the transaction and has announced its intention to recommend it to shareholders, it added.

Total entered the French retail power market in 2016 with the €200 million acquisition of Belgian power retailer Lampiris, which had already built up a French client portfolio.

The Direct Energie acquisition will add 2.6 million clients to Total’s 1.5 million client portfolio.

Total aims to become a leading player in power supply in France and Belgium and is targeting over 6 million customers in France and more than 1 million customers in Belgium by 2022.

 

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