Russia financial crisis and political uncertainties take their toll on a planned Russian-German mega–deal in natural gas: Now the world's biggest chemical company BASF calls off an asset swap of its subsidiary Wintershall with Gazprom of Russia.
Ludwigshafen/Germany, Moscow/Russia – In the asset swap, it was originally planned that two additional blocks of the Achimov formation of the Urengoi natural gas and condensate field in western Siberia would be jointly developed by Gazprom and Wintershall, a 100 % subsidiary of BASF. In return, Wintershall would have transferred the jointly operated natural gas trading and storage business to Gazprom. Gazprom would have also received a 50 % share in the activities of Wintershall Noordzee, which is active in the exploration and production of oil and gas in the southern North Sea (Netherlands, UK and Denmark). Together the activities that would have been divested contributed around € 12 billion to sales and about € 500 million to EBITDA of the BASF Group in 2013.
Now, with the asset swap called off, natural gas trading will be run as a 50-50 joint venture between Gazprom and Wintershall, while Wintershall Noordzee remains a full BASF subsidiary. Despite the cancelled deal, BASF's Chairman of the Board Dr. Kurt Bock remains confident to achieve a positive result for 2014: “In light of this, the outlook for the current year of achieving an EBIT before special items that is slightly higher than the previous year still appears to be reachable,” said Bock. Previously a considerable rise in EBIT was expected due to the special income from the divestitures of the gas trading and storage business.