Earlier this month, Eon announced its plans to raise €15bn over three years to pay off debt and fund an expansionary drive outside Europe.
At the time, Johannes Teyssen, the chief executive (pictured), wrote to shareholders:
Our objective is to sharpen Eon’s profile as an international energy specialist and to increase our earnings strength by placing it on a broader, more international foundation.
Just three weeks into that three-year period, the company has already made its first move, selling its 3.5 per cent stake in Gazprom for €3.4bn. Teyssen said today:
We will use these proceeds to further reduce our debt and to increase our flexibility for making new strategic investments.
But the company also insisted it would continue to work closely with Gazprom, and still buy natural gas for the European market.
The next sale along the line could yet be its UK power transmission grid, which is believed to be up for sale.
But when answering questions from Energy Source readers last week, the company’s UK head of energy policy was keen to damp down such talk. She said:
We are in the process of reviewing our strategic options for Central Networks and that may or may not result in a decision to sell that business. I would also want to acknowledge that Central Networks makes a great contribution to Eon – its operational performance, safety and financial performance have been exemplary.