01 January 2019, News Wires — Azeri energy firm SOCAR is in advanced talks to acquire the energy business of Germany’s EWE in Turkey by the first quarter of 2019, an official for SOCAR and two sources familiar with the deal said on Monday.
EWE, the fourth-largest natural gas supplier in Turkey in terms of customers, has said it was looking to sell its local distribution units after being hit by the weakening Turkish lira.
State-owned SOCAR has a petrochemical plant and oil refinery in Turkey and has said it wanted to acquire gas distribution networks in 2019. It aims to take up a fifth of the natural gas market in neighbouring Turkey, where 54 billion cubic meters of gas were consumed last year.
“We expect the purchase to be completed in the first quarter, we can confirm this,” an official from SOCAR’s Turkish unit said, when asked by Reuters about a purchase of EWE’s energy business in Turkey.
EWE’s energy operation in Turkey includes Bursagaz and Kayserigaz, the gas distribution networks in the industrial cities of Bursa and Kayseri. It also includes the EWE Enerji and Enervis businesses, which are involved in energy trade and service, according to EWE’s annual report.
“SOCAR Turkey’s purchase of EWE’s two natural gas distribution units has reached an advanced stage. EWE also received many other local offers. SOCAR emerged first among the offers,” one of the sources with direct knowledge of the talks said.
The price has not yet been set, although talks were now being carried out by SOCAR and EWE exclusively, the source said, adding that the purchase could be expected in the first few months of 2019.
Reuters was not immediately able to reach EWE for comment on Monday, a public holiday in Germany.