SINGAPORE/PARIS (Reuters) - French gas utility Engie is in discussions with Total and other unnamed companies as it reviews parts of its liquefied natural gas (LNG) businesses, it said on Monday, raising the prospect of a possible sale.
In a statement Engie said it had launched a strategic review of its upstream and midstream LNG units - which include the liquefaction, transport and trading of LNG - though downstream activities such as regasification was not included.
Financial newsletter La Lettre de l’Expansion had reported that Engie was in talks over a possible sale of its LNG division to Total and a deal could be reached in coming weeks.
“At this stage, there can be no certainty as to whether the discussions with the counterparties, including Total, will lead to any agreement,” Engie said.
Engie Executive Vice-President Didier Holleaux confirmed to Reuters Engie is looking for a partner for parts of the business. “To make LNG profitable, we need to be as big as possible. So we’re looking for a partner,” Holleaux said at a conference in Singapore.
Officials at Total could not be reached for immediate comment.
Engie Chief Executive Isabelle Kocher is in the midst of a restructuring that includes 15 billion euros ($18 billion) worth of asset sales and 22 billion euros of investment.
Total plans to start retailing gas and power in France by the end of this year and aims to win about 2 million customers.
Reporting by Florence Tan, Sudip Kar-Gupta, Pascale Denis and Sarah White; Editing by Jason Neely and David Holmes