Naturgy committed to dividend regardless of IFM bid outcome

FILE PHOTO: The logo of Spanish energy company Naturgy at its headquarters in Madrid, Spain, October 9, 2018. REUTERS/Sergio Perez/File Photo

MADRID (Reuters) – Spanish energy group Naturgy said on Thursday its board plans to stick with the current dividend policy regardless of the outcome of a partial takeover bid by Australian fund IFM Investors.

IFM has launched a 4.9 billion euros ($5.8 billion) bid to acquire a 22.69% stake in the Spanish energy group.

Its vice-president, Jaime Siles, who is leading the bid in Spain, said on Wednesday the fund would accept a reduced dividend to support Naturgy’s development plans, prompting speculation of an impending cut. [L8N2QV3LP]

But Naturgy reiterated on Thursday that its board has not “considered in any moment” reviewing the company’s five-year strategic plan approved in July, which includes a dividend policy.

The dividend policy approved “is compatible with the company’s investment and growth ambition, as well as with the financial prudence to maintain a BBB rating level”, Naturgy said in a market filing.

Naturgy also said the goal of the takeover is not to delist the company.

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