ROME – Another large family of Italian business takes a step aside. Another of the main and historic companies on the Italian stock exchange passes into foreign hands.
The Moratti family, owner of 40% of the capital of the Saras group, decided to hand over control of the company to the Dutch Vitola multinational company that deals with raw materials trading.
The rumors circulating in recent days have found in a statement released late in the evening: “Members of the Moratti family have entered into an agreement for the sale of approximately 35% of Saras to the Dutch Vitol”. The price is “equal to 1.75 euros per share”.
And again: “Upon completion of the operation, the entire stake held by the Moratti family in Saras will be transferred to Vitol”.
“The operation will lead to the onset of an obligation to promote a mandatory public takeover offer on the share capital of Saras, which – it is explained – will be promoted by Vitol at the same price per shareor at the price adjusted in the event of distribution of a dividend before completion of the transaction”.
“The objective of the takeover bid – continues the note – is to obtain the revocation of Saras’ ordinary shares from the listing and trading on Euronext Milanwhich can also be achieved through a merger in the presence of the relevant conditions”.
Capitalization of 1.7 billion
“The price of 1.75 euros per share implies a capitalization of Saras of approximately 1.7 billion euros“.
The first impact of the agreement is industrial. In just under a year, the two main refineries in the country have changed owners.
Last May, the agreement for the sale of the plant was closed Priolo, the largest in Italy: to buy the Cypriot group Goi Energyallied with Trafigura, another global commodity giant based in Switzerland.
Lukoil and Garrone
To sell the Russian group Lukoilwhich in turn had taken it over from the Garrone family’s Erg after a trial concluded in 2012. Now it’s the turn of the Sarroch refinery, on the Sardinian coast not far from Cagliari.
Saras was founded in 1962 by Angelo Morattian entrepreneur who from a young age in the 1930s had been active in the sector of the nascent Italian oil industry: the refinery was inaugurated four years later, in the presence of Giulio Andreotti, then Minister of Industry.
Due to its location in the center of the western Mediterranean it immediately became one of the most important plants at European level.
And thanks to the modernization works of the early 2000shas managed to defend itself from the advent of large Asian plants which have long enjoyed the competitive advantage of lower labor costs.
So while the sector in Europe was being restructured, with a series of closures especially on the North Sea, Sarroch can currently boast a production of around 15 million tonnes per year (equal to 300 thousand barrels per day).
In fact, already in recent years the Moratti family had tried to look for a partner who could then take over the group.
Relations with Moscow
He had tried this with the Russian group Rosneft, which had risen to 20 percent of the capital since 2013. Only to then leave the scene a few years later, with the worsening of relations between the Western bloc and Moscow.
The discussions within the Moratti family then resumed five years ago after the death of Gianmarco, who together with his brother Massimo had carried on the business after the death of his father Angelowhich occurred in 1981.
A family with the typical reserve of Milanese entrepreneurial dynasties, the two brothers had divided the tasks: more operational Gianmarco, public relations man Massimo.
Until he gained great popularity after taking control of Inter and winning the Champions League, like his father Angelo who was the president of the two European Cups of the 1960s.
In the last period, it was Massimo who took over the leadership of Sarastorn between carrying on the business and giving up control, also to follow the wishes of most of the family members.
Hence the search for a buyer and the selection by the consultants which led to the final phase of the the Vitol group negotiates.
A story that can be ascribed to one side to the difficulty of industrial groups faced with generational transitions and on the other to major changes in the energy and oil industries in particular.