ROME (Reuters) – The Italian government will ask Vitol to commit to jobs, investment and continuity of supplies when examining the global commodities trader’s proposed takeover of oil refiner Saras, they said. two sources close to the matter said on Monday.
The Moratti family, majority shareholder of Saras, announced on Sunday that it had agreed to sell its stake to Vitol in a deal valuing the oil refiner at 1.7 billion euros ($1.8 billion).
Rome will review the transaction under “golden power” rules for sectors deemed of strategic importance such as banking, energy, telecommunications and health.
One of the sources said the government was inclined to demand commitments similar to those agreed last year with Cypriot private equity firm GOI Energy to support its acquisition of the Lukoil refinery in Sicily.
The government’s investigation will begin as soon as the parties have notified the terms of the transaction.
Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni’s office and Vitol were not immediately available for comment.
Under the terms of the agreement, the Moratti family’s entire stake in Saras will be transferred to Vitol, thereby triggering a mandatory tender offer for all outstanding shares.
The takeover aims to delist the company, the Morattis said on Sunday.
Saras’ most important asset is the Sarroch plant in Sardinia, which is the largest plant in the Mediterranean, with a refining capacity of 300,000 barrels per day.
Italy’s use of privileged powers in most cases results in the approval of agreements with binding conditions aimed at protecting the national interest.
The Meloni government blocked last November the planned purchase by the French group Safran, for $1.8 billion, of the flight control systems branch of Collins Aerospace, because it could have threatened the supply of the armed forces national.
($1 = 0.9289 euros)
(Reporting by Giuseppe Fonte; editing by Mark Potter)