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Energy

Sonangol admits becoming independent in Galp

The president of Sonangol said Friday that the oil company may become an independent shareholder in Galp, where it is currently integrated in the holding company Esperaza, with businesswoman Isabel dos Santos, an issue that will have to be discussed with Amorim Energia.

: Pedro Patricio
Pedro Patricio  

"As Sonangol, we are a company that has enough dignity to appear alone, it does not need to appear associated with companies that possibly do not have the same caliber," said Sebastião Gaspar Martins, in Luanda, at a press conference in which the company's results for 2020 were presented.

Sonangol holds 60 percent of Esperaza Holding, which is also owned by Exem Energy, a Dutch holding that had as its main beneficiary the husband of businesswoman Isabel dos Santos, Sindika Dokolo, who died on October 29, 2020.

The joint venture owns 45 percent of Amorim Energia, which in turn is a key shareholder of Galp, with 33.34 percent of the voting rights.

"Sonangol intends to continue to defend its interests," he said, admitting that in the future the oil company may appear "independent" from its partner in Galp.

"This is something we have to discuss with our partner Amorim Energia and, depending on that decision, there may or may not be a separation," he added.

At this moment, he continued, Sonangol feels the need to continue with Amorim Energia to defend its interests in Galp and considered that the current participation is satisfactory, but did not rule out the possibility of a reinforcement.

"We have a satisfactory participation interest, but if an opportunity arises we will have to analyze it," said Sebastião Gaspar Martins.

"Today we have a strategy and portfolio management department that evaluates the investment in terms of the balance of the entire company and verifies if the addition of this participative interest is, or not, advantageous. If the recommendation is yes, it adds value, we follow up and look at ways to increase that investment," he said.

But for now, he stressed, "what we have is enough.

As for the suit recently filed in the Dutch courts against Exem, he declined to go into details, since "the process is ongoing".

The state oil company has appealed to the Dutch courts to get Isabel dos Santos' indirect 6 percent stake in Galp, held through Exem, according to Reuters.

The chairman of Sonangol's board of directors also noted that the company is progressively becoming an energy entity.

Sonangol has already identified two solar energy projects - photovoltaic plants in Namibe and Huila, in partnership with Eni and Total - and intends to pursue this goal.

"We will continue to identify others and, depending on the feasibility and benefits, we will decide whether to proceed," said the head of the flagship oil company.

Another area of interest is biofuels, with BP already showing interest, he said.

"We are following a path that aims to make this transition, it doesn't mean that we will stop the investments in 'oil&gas' [oil and gas] that is the biggest source of revenue," said Gaspar Martins.

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