The Ministry for Ecological Transition plans to make changes to the law which will affect Red Eléctrica and Enagás, operators of Spain’s electricity and gas networks, respectively. According to press reports, the two companies, each with a stake of public capital, will be obliged to inform the competition supervisor (CNMC) of any interest they have in acquisitions (now they are not required to do so). The CNMC will not have the right of veto, but it will impose conditions on its approval.
The 2013 law which created this body (in its ninth additional provision) requires the communication of acquisition operations “from regulated companies or by regulated companies.” But neither REE nor Enagás have ever been involved in this process, as their parent companies or other subsidiaries of the group have been the ones responsible for any purchases.
To avoid this situation, the draft Law on Climate Change and Energy Transition, to which financial daily CincoDías has had access, adds the following modification to the additional ninth provision: “the acquisitions made by the parent companies of the managers of the electricity and natural gas transportation networks, as well as by any other companies that are part of these groups, must also be communicated. ”
For Banco Sabadell analysts, this news has a negative slant for both companies where organic growth is very limited: “Although the CNMC cannot veto operations, the fact that it will include conditions is, undoubtedly, an obstacle to growth for these companies. Both have been protagonists in the acquisition business in the last few years.”