(Bloomberg) -- Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez said Spain is open to all foreign investors when asked whether he’ll approve an Australian bid for a stake in Spanish utility Naturgy Energy Group SA.
Asset manager IFM Global Infrastructure offered 5 billion euros ($6 billion) for a 22.7% stake in Naturgy in an unsolicited bid in January and officials are assessing whether to allow the transaction to go ahead.
Spain has increased its scrutiny of foreign takeovers over the past year in line with other European countries, wary of losing strategic businesses that had seen their share prices beaten down by the pandemic. Sanchez’s government is said to have asked IFM for more details about the offer.
“We have to study this dossier,” Sanchez said during an interview with Bloomberg Television. “Of course, it is important to guarantee that Spain is an open economy, that we are really, really welcoming all foreign investors.”
Naturgy’s biggest shareholder, Criteria Caixa, the CaixaBank Foundation’s investment arm, said it would boost its 25% stake to as much as 30% in order to ensure the company remains listed in Spain and guarantee national energy security.
©2021 Bloomberg L.P.