Eni boss does not rule out Saipem sale

12 February 2013, News wire – Italy’s Eni could in future think about selling its oil services subsidiary Saipem chief Executive Paolo Scaroni has said.

Speaking at a conference in New York, Scaroni said the sale of Saipem was not a priority but “we could think about it in the future,” Reuters reported.

Late last month, Saipem, Europe’s biggest oil services group, issued a shock profit warning for 2012 and a grim 2013 outlook that wiped billions of euro off its market worth.

The warning followed news in December of an investigation into alleged corruption in Algeria revolving around a series of contracts won by Saipem, of which Eni is a 43% owner.

On Thursday it emerged Scaroni’s home and office were being searched over a meeting he had with a key suspect in the bribery investigation, although the chief executive himself is not under suspicion.

Scaroni said recent developments had led Eni “to rethink its relationship” with Saipem.
*Bill Lehane

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