Mamma Mia Eni Looks Good
Italy's Eni , a major integrated energy player, is making moves of late that suggest "La Vecchia Signora," translated as "The Old Lady," is more intently focused on modernization and new tactics to boost value for shareholders. I believe the company, led by CEO Paolo Scaroni, could look to take a page from Apache and shed non-core assets to raise cash. Additionally, Team Scaroni may also explore ways to lower risk in Libya by welcoming a partner in the region. I'm intrigued by the company's recent announced exploration agreement with Quicksilver in West Texas, a move that may suggest Eni is not simply content to rely on Russia for gas anymore. So similar deals for unconventional gas in North America are very credible, including a deeper relationship with Quicksilver, especially since this is not the first time these two companies have agreed to collaborate (Eni acquired a 27.5% stake in the Barnett shale region from Quicksilver in 2009 for $280 million). A recent announced stock buyback, as well as very positive drilling results from its gas find off the coast of Australia should also make Eni more attractive to investors.
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