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Ashmore Energy International’s end-game reply

June 26, 2007

Criticism by Chile’s media of Ashmore Energy International’s (AEI) intention to purchase CMSEnergy’s 50% interest in GasAtacama has been so strong that the company, which is controlled by UK’s Ashmore Investment Management (AIM), had to release a statement to fend off criticism.

One article accused AEI-AIM of being a “vulture” that prayed on weak companies.

AEI country manager for Argentina and Chile Pablo Ferrero defended the company’s strategy in Chile.

“We identified Chile as an attractive market to grow in the region and make long term investments,” he said.
“AEI manages energy infrastructure in power generation and distribution and natural gas transmission and distribution, with a presence in Latin America, and the investment in GasAtacama fits perfectly with our strategy”.

And why wouldn’t the GasAtacama deal fit handsomely in the company’s strategy in the region? One very important reason is the low $80-million pricetag for CMS Energy’s 50% interest of the Chilean side of the GasAtacama gasline and 50% of the 780MW combined cycle gas turbine (CCGT) plant at Mejillones.

The sum is tiny considering the hundreds of millions that were invested in GasAtacama to build a pipeline from Argentina and CCGT.

Approval of the AEI-CMS Energy deal, which has to be approved by Endesa, the other 50% owner of GasAtacama, would be finalized in the end of the third quarter, the company said in the statement.

The final story over the purchase of CMSEnergy’s interest by AEI is far from over.

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