Wintershall Dea CEO doesn’t see IPO in next six months
BERLIN (Reuters) – An initial public offering (IPO) for oil and gas producer Wintershall Dea is off the cards for the next six months, Chief Executive Mario Mehren told business daily Handelsblatt.
The company, owned jointly by BASF and investor group LetterOne, postponed IPO plans last year, with BASF saying the market environment was not right.
“Ultimately, it’s up to the shareholders to decide. But we have to clarify many things first,” Mehren told Handelsblatt in an interview published on Friday. “I don’t see an IPO today or in the next six months, and not in the current structure.”
Wintershall Dea, a long-term partner to Russian gas giant Gazprom, is examining how it can legally separate its international business from its Russian business.
“When the examination is completed, we will consider together with our shareholders what further steps we can take,” Mehren said.
Mehren said the only way for the company to withdraw from Russia would be to give its activities to the Russian state.
“We don’t think that would be productive either,” he added. “Over the years, we have built up assets in Russia together with our shareholders.”
Mehren said these assets were worth billions.
“We have 2 billion euros in liquid assets there. In our books, our assets are worth around 2.5 billion euros. We have a fiduciary duty for our shareholders’ assets. We can’t just throw away our Russian operations.”
Mehren said he was last in Russia at the beginning of December 2021, adding: “I no longer have any contact with people with whom I had built up a close, personal relationship for 16 years.”
(Writing by Paul Carrel, Editing by Miranda Murray and Mark Potter)