ROME—Italian oil giant Eni has classified its chemicals arms Versalis as a “discontinued operation” in its 2015 full year financial statement, as it continues to divest the business.
Negotiations are underway “with an industrial partner who, by acquiring a controlling stake of Versalis, would support Eni in implementing the industrial plan designed to upgrade this business,” said the oil company in its results statement on Feb. 26.
“Therefore, effective for the full year, Versalis assets and liabilities, revenues and expenses and cash flow have been classified as discontinued operations,” it added.
In a meeting with the Italian ministry of economy in January, Eni confirmed that it was seeking a partner for Versalis, but said that it intended to retain a significant stake of the company in the partnership to ensure its objectives are successfully met.
Eni said that in choosing the partner, it would take into account a number key factors, namely investment plans, retention of industrial layout for at least five years, maintenance of current employment levels for at least three years and retention of the company headquarters in Italy.
During the meeting, Eni also reported that Versalis' performance in the first nine months of 2015 was positive following significant losses in recent years.
This was as a result of implementing a “transformation plan” at Versalis, which according to Eni is centered, partly on international development through strategic partnerships with global operators, and on the development of green chemicals.
However, Eni said that the continuously changing global business environment still shows structural limitations.
“For this reason, Eni is seeking to identify a partner for Versalis, in order to strengthen the business further and to ensure the continuity of its investment and restructuring plans,” the company added.
Such a partner, it added, must have the availability and expertise to enable Versalis to either broaden or exchange its technology portfolio, so as to generate new development and investment opportunities.
Versalis declined to comment on the progress of talks and possible partners.