Milan — Italy’s Saipem bowed to pressure from investors and appointed two new managers to represent top shareholders as its CEO draws up a turnaround plan for the struggling energy services group.
Saipem stunned the market this week saying it would report a 2021 loss of over one-third of the company’s equity, forcing it by law to seek measures to offset the losses.
The company, controlled by energy group Eni and state lender Cassa Depositi e Prestiti (CDP), has said it might need additional funding.
In a statement on Friday Saipem said it had appointed Eni natural resources chief Alessandro Puliti to head up a new General Management department. It also entrusted planning and financial oversight powers to CDP manager Paolo Calcagnini.
Puliti, who will be replaced at Eni by Guido Brusco, will take up his new position on Feb. 7.
The move comes after pressure from Eni and CDP for Saipem to reshape its management and organisation structure before talks can begin on any rescue package.
“The shareholders want to oversee what is going on,” a source close to the matter said on Friday.
Chief Executive Francesco Caio, who took the helm last May after three years as chairman, has come under intense pressure after reassuring the market on prospects just three months ago in his first business plan.
Eni and CDP, which together own more than 40% of Saipem, are reviewing a range of options that could include a capital increase of more than a billion euros and debt restructuring.
Saipem, whose shares have lost nearly 40% this week, will need to come up with a solution by February 23 when it is due to officially sign off on full year results.
But the controlling shareholders are reluctant to pour more money into Saipem and back a potentially highly dilutive cash call, without reassurances on the way ahead, the source said.
Eni, which underwrote its share of a 3.5 billion euro cash call at the contractor in 2016 after a series of profit warnings, owns 30% of Saipem with a book value of 662 million euros. CDP holds a 12.5% stake.
Saipem, a market leader in subsea exploration and production with 32,000 staff worldwide, has been looking to develop new lines of business to meet an increasing customer focus on green technologies.
It has pinned the blame for its latest woes on problems at its onshore E&P and offshore wind businesses due to delays and higher costs for materials.
Shares were down 0.12% by 1317 GMT on Friday.
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