2. Mission and international growth
Snam is the parent company of an integrated group that is the largest operator in Europe in the management of infrastructure in the regulated gas sector and is active in the regasification of liquefied natural gas and the transportation, dispatching, storage and distribution of natural gas. Snam owns the main gas infrastructure within Italy and is a key operator in Europe in terms of its regulatory asset base (RAB).
Snam’s primary objective is to create value that can meet the expectations of all stakeholders, as expressed in its Bylaws2, Code of Ethics3 and Sustainability Report4.
This aim is achieved by providing services to its customers under conditions of the utmost safety and reliability and ensuring the development of infrastructure, new and more efficient technologies, and the flexibility of the gas system, in support of competitive growth and security in the supply system. Snam pursues a sustainable economic and business model that incorporates respect for its people, based on the belief that it is important to invest in and constantly enhance their expertise for the benefit of stakeholders, the environment and the entire community.
Since 2008, the European Union has adopted an integrated strategy aimed at developing the common market for natural gas and electricity5. This, together with the growing demand for gas and the progressive reduction in European production, suggests a need to create new infrastructure, ensuring the integrated management of storage and regasification capacity.
Due to its larger size compared with other European players in terms of infrastructure and execution and management capacity (including through partnerships with international operators), and its integrated portfolio of assets in all the regulated segments in the sector (transportation, storage and regasification), including leadership in the distribution segment, Snam is aware of the challenge it faces and the opportunity to position itself as the benchmark operator for the development of the regulated gas market in Europe, and the role (also social) that this would involve in terms of benefiting from access to new supply directives and integration with other European networks. In light of this, in recent years it has embarked upon a strategy of international growth.
In line with this strategy, in early 2012, Snam signed a strategic agreement with Fluxys S.A. (formerly Fluxys G S.A.) of Belgium with a view to developing joint gas infrastructure projects in Europe. The agreement resulted in the incorporation of two Dutch companies (Gasbridge 1 B.V. and Gasbridge 2 B.V., of which Snam and Fluxys each own 50%), which have acquired equity investments in European gas infrastructure companies. This agreement was followed by the signing of a memorandum of understanding in March 2014 between Snam and Fluxys, with a view to further developing their strategic alliance to pursue growth opportunities through projects aimed at improving the flexibility and security of gas supplies in Europe.
Completing a competitive process begun in 2012, Snam set up a consortium with affiliates of a Singaporean sovereign investment fund (GIC) and of Electricité de France (EDF Inv.) to acquire, in 2013, Transport et Infrastructures Gaz France (TIGF), France’s second-largest operator in gas transportation and storage, which is strategically located in the south-west of France. Following this acquisition, TIGF is wholly owned by TIGF Investissements, which is in turn wholly owned by TIGF Holding, which equities, following an agreement undersigned on February 26, 2015 by Snam, GIC, EDF Inv. and Crédit Agricole Assurances for the entry of the latter in the share capital of TIGF Holding, are in turn held by Snam (40.5%), GIC (31.5%), EDF Inv.(18%) and Crédit Agricole Assurances (10%).
2014 saw the acquisition of the equity investment held by CDP GAS S.r.l. in Trans Austria Gasleitung GmbH (TAG), the owner and manager of the Austrian gas pipeline, a key piece of infrastructure for the supply of Russian gas for the Italian market. The TAG pipeline, partly in light of its potential use in reverse flow towards central European markets, is a strategic asset for the development of the East-West European energy corridor, in the context of a policy of ever deeper integration between the continent’s networks.
Following this transaction, Snam holds an equity investment of 84.47% in TAG, with 89.22% of the relevant economic rights.
The development of the Snam Group in recent years has resulted in a diverse and more complex risk profile, which led in 2014 to it contemplating a new insurance model based on Snam retaining part of the risk and creating a captive insurance company headquartered in Ireland, Gasrule Insurance Limited.
2 Article 2.2 of the Bylaws states that, in order to pursue the corporate purpose, the Company will uphold the principles of equal treatment of users, transparency, impartiality and neutrality in transporting and dispatching, in compliance with the applicable regulations and provisions of the law. In particular, the Company, in accordance with the principles of cost-effectiveness, profitability and maximisation of shareholders’ investment, and without prejudice to the requirements of confidentiality of company data, carries out its corporate purpose with the intention of promoting competition, efficiency and the appropriate levels of quality in providing services. To this end, it: (i) guarantees impartiality in the management of essential infrastructures for the development of a free energy market; (ii) prevents discrimination in the access to commercially sensitive information; (iii) prevents the exchange of resources between segments of the supply chains.
3 The following are articles of the Code of Ethics that reflect this commitment. Article 1 of the Code of Ethics (General principles: sustainability and corporate responsibility) states that: “Systematic methods for involving stakeholders are adopted, fostering dialogue on sustainability and corporate responsibility”. Article 2 (Behaviour rules and relations with stakeholders) states that: “Snam plans to play an active role in sustainable development processes and is committed to creating competitive value for the business, its stakeholders and the regions in which it operates. The corporate objectives, as well as the proposal and implementation of projects, investments and actions, all have to be aimed at improving the company’s assets, management, technological and information level in the long term, and at creating value and well-being for all stakeholders”.
5 This refers primarily to Directives 92/2008/EC, 2009/72/EC and 2009/73/EC, which were implemented by Legislative Decree No. 93 of 1 June 2011.