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Fondo Strategico Italiano Spa (FSI) has approved to invest up to € 100 million in Hera Spa
The FSI investment, subject to antitrust and regulatory clearance, will occur upon completion of the Hera-AcegasAps combination – resulting from the merger of AcegasAps Holding into Hera Spa and the following public tender offer on AcegasAps minorities – as part of an Hera capital increase for up to 80 million newly issued shares.
The FSI’s proposal was approved by the Hera Board of Directors, which will submit the capital increase proposal to the next shareholders’ meeting, scheduled on October 15, 2012.
FSI would invest by underwriting new Hera shares deriving from subscription rights which are not exercised by shareholders, and by purchasing rights from some of the Hera shareholders, at market terms.
FSI’s stake in Hera could range from 2,6% to approx. 6%.
The FSI investment is to subject to some conditions, including clearance from antitrust and regulatory authorities (considering, in this respect, also the investment undertakings of Cassa depositi e prestiti Spa) and a price for each new share not higher than the average Hera stock price for the month prior to the definition of the terms of the rights issue, with a cap of Euro 1.25 per share (including cost for purchasing option rights).
The proceeds from FSI investment are expected to fund part of the Euro 1.5bn Hera investment plan for 2012-15, which targets further improvements in waste a water management businesses, which have already yields in line or better than the European average. In particular, the plan envisages to increase recycled or burned waste from 75% to 82% (vs. a national average of 58% and above 90% for Denmark and Germany) and to reduce water network losses from 26% to 24% (vs. 39% for Italy, 21% for France and 15% for UK and Germany).
Hera would be FSI first investment in the utility sector. In Italy, the sector is highly fragmented and most companies are highly levered. As a result, the sector lacks appropriate investments to fund infrastructure development and efficiency improvements.
The approval of the Hera transaction follows other FSI investments, for a total amount of up to Euro 1 billion (46.2% of Reti TLC-Metroweb, 18.6% di Kedrion and – in the event of an initial public offering by December 2012 - 15% of Avio).
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