Eni SpA Management Discusses Q2 2012 Results - Earnings Call Transcript

Eni SpA (E)

Q2 2012 Earnings Call

August 01, 2012 8:00 am ET


Paolo Scaroni - Chief Executive Officer, General Manager and Director

Alessandro Bernini - Chief Financial Officer

Roberto Casula

Claudio Descalzi - Chief Operating Officer of Exploration & Production Division


Nitin Sharma - JP Morgan Chase & Co, Research Division

Oswald Clint - Sanford C. Bernstein & Co., LLC., Research Division

Hootan Yazhari - BofA Merrill Lynch, Research Division

Jon Rigby - UBS Investment Bank, Research Division

Matthew P. Lofting - Nomura Securities Co. Ltd., Research Division

Irene Himona - Societe Generale Cross Asset Research

Rahim Karim - Barclays Capital, Research Division

Kim Fustier - Crédit Suisse AG, Research Division

Alastair Roderick Syme - Citigroup Inc, Research Division

Martijn Rats - Morgan Stanley, Research Division

Andrea Scauri - Mediobanca Securities, Research Division



Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen, and welcome to Eni’s 2012 Second Quarter Results Conference Call hosted by Paolo Scaroni, Chief Executive Officer; and Alessandro Bernini, Chief Financial Officer. [Operator Instructions] I'm now handing you over to your host to begin today's conference. Thank you.

Paolo Scaroni

Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen, and welcome to our interim update and second quarter results conference call. Looking at the first half of 2012, there are 3 main highlights that I would like to draw your attention to. Two of these are positive strategic developments, and one is a negative business trend.

First, we have made a good start on our non-core asset disposal program, unlocking value for shareholders, reducing debt and refocusing the business. Secondly, we have further built up the organic growth prospect of our E&P to a stream of truly exceptional exploration successes. And third, we are facing challenging market conditions in our Italian and European businesses with Gas & Power, refining marketing and chemicals buffeted by euro area headwinds. I will now take you through each of these points in a little more depth. Sandro will then present the financial performance in Q2.

Let's look at Snam and Galp. As for Snam, the disposal process is well underway. Following the signing of the sale of 30% to Cassa Depositi e Prestiti, we have placed a field of 5% in the market, destabilizing value for our investors, reducing the overhang on Snam and confirming the market's appetite for this asset. For our remaining 20%, we are talking to potential investors.

Depending on the evolution of the stocks and market conditions, we will evaluate how best to progress on the disposal. Any transaction will take place following the closing of the Cassa Depositi e Prestiti deal expected in the autumn.

With regards to Galp, we have recently executed the first step of our disposal process, completing the sale of 5% to Amorim Energia for EUR 14.25 per share and exited the company's shareholder back. We are now free to evaluate the different options to start value from our stake with flexibility and no time constraint.

As a result of these 2 disposals, by next year, Eni's business portfolio will look like better than its peers. And net debt will fall by around EUR 20 billion, taking our gearing below industry average. As a consequence, we will adjust the way we return cash to shareholders in line with industry practices, accompanying our dividend with a recently approved share buyback program.

Let's now turn to the second highlight, exploration. For many years now, we have discovered around 1 billion boe of new resources a year, well in excess of our average production of about 600 million, 700 million boe a year, providing fuel for future growth. In the first 6 months of the this year, through our discoveries and appraisals in the Barents Sea, Egypt and West Africa, we have discovered over 400 million boe. And on top of that, we have an extraordinary game changing success in Mozambique, which brings total new resources discovered by June 30 to 2.2 billion boe. This number does not include the results of the fifth well in Mozambique announced today, which increases gas in place to 60 TCF.

Of these, 40 TCF are to [indiscernible] with Area 1. And 20 TCF in structures, which are fully in our block. Following this success, we now estimate the overall potential of the discoveries in Area 4, 70 TCF of gas in place. We've also been working on our long-term exploration prospects, securing new and promising acreage in the Norwegian and Russian Barents Sea, in the Black Sea, East Africa and in the Far East.

Turning now to our operating performance. While in E&P, we see the benefit of rapid recovery of Libyan volumes, our Italian European businesses faced strong economic headwinds. In Gas & Power, gas demand continued to fall, driven by the weak economy and the competitiveness of coal and renewables in power generation.

For an idea of the impact this is having, normalized demand in the first 6 months of the year was 5% lower in Italy and 7% lower in key European countries year-on-year and as much as 13% and 18% lower compared to the precrisis first half of 2008. This has prevented European oversupply from being absorbed, stock prices from closing the gap with oil linked prices. In this context, we have leveraged on recent supply renegotiations to remain competitive and profitable.

In the first half, our merchant business delivered a positive result, even excluding one-offs, of which the main one is the gas from extraordinary benefit. R&M is also suffering from unprecedented demand decline. Italian consumption of refined products was down by around 10% in the first half of the year, adding further pressure to Europe structural refining overcapacity. We are working to offset the negative market environment through cost cuts and temporary capacity reductions, such as the partial closure of our Gela refinery.

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