The Italian Government has filed a prospectus for the public sale of shares in the privatization of its gas, petroleum and chemical company, ENI ("Ente Nazionale Idrocarburi"), which will begin on November 21, 1995. ENI is not now listed on any securities exchange, although the prospectus indicates that listings in London and New York have been requested. The sale will take place through a public offer at a price per share between 5,250 and 6,000 Lire, to be set on November 19, 1995. Between 400 million and one billion shares will be offered on the Italian and foreign markets, with approximately 25% of these shares reserved to ENI employees. In addition, ENI will offer 950 million shares in private placements with investment institutions, and to investors in the US market. It is expected that 20-25% of ENI's capital will be sold to the public during this first offer. The coordinators of the sale, the Italian Securities Clearing House ("IMI") and CS First Boston will take pre-registration orders from November 6 to 17, and the exact number of shares to be placed on the market will be announced on November 19.

The sale will thus take place in two ways: through private placement and through public offer. The public offer of shares in Italy is regulated by law, and will be supervised by the Italian Commission for Companies and the Securities Exchange ("CONSOB"). The offer will be made at an equal price for all offerees, and will be held open from November 21 to 24, 1995, unless the volume of acceptances dictates that it close earlier, which has often been the case with Italian privatizations.

The prospectus presents ENI as very healthy, with record profits in 1994, and still better results expected for 1995. As incentives to share purchasers, the Italian Treasury, which now owns 100% of ENI's shares, will reimburse any loss of share value up to 10% for purchasers who hold the shares for one year from original purchase. In addition, the Treasury has promised to propose that after the sale, the company offer dividends starting at 40% of 1995 profits, and increasing yearly to a par with those offered by the petroleum companies listed on international securities exchanges.

ENI owns Agip Petroli and Agip, which are involved in the extraction, refinement, and retailing of petroleum; EniChem, which is involved in the packing materials, plastics, fibers, detergents, and specialized chemicals sectors; Snam, which supplies and transports natural gas; Snamprogetti, which plans, designs, constructs and manages industrial facilities and refineries; and Saipem, which constructs inland and off-shore oil extraction sites and platforms.

The content of this article is intended to provide general information on the subject matter. It does not substitute the advice of legal counsel.