FILE PHOTO: A logo of German energy utility company Uniper SE is pictured in the company’s headquarter in Duesseldorf, Germany, March 8, 2018. REUTERS/Thilo Schmuelgen/File Photo

FRANKFURT (Reuters) – German energy group Uniper has agreed to sell its stake in a liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminal in Italy to Australian fund First State Investments for about 400 million euros ($452 million), it said on Friday.

The sale of the 48.2 percent stake in OLT Offshore LNG Toscana will hand Uniper net proceeds of about 340 million euros once the deal closes later this year, a welcome cash injection as the group tries to expand its LNG business in Germany.

“We’ve always said that selected existing gas infrastructure investments which we consider as strategic non-core assets may be suitable for portfolio rotation,” Uniper Chief Operating Officer Eckhardt Ruemmler said in a statement.

“That means that we would reinvest the sale proceeds in our growth businesses that generate attractive returns,” he added.

The deal comes two days after sources told Reuters that Uniper and First State, the asset management arm of Commonwealth Bank of Australia, were in advanced talks over the stake sale, which is expected to raise concerns in Rome.

The terminal’s other shareholders are Italian multi-utility Iren, which owns 49.1 percent, and LNG shipping group Golar LNG, which holds the remaining 2.7 percent.

Uniper, in which Finland’s Fortum owns 49.99 percent, plans to set up an LNG terminal in its home market of Germany, where rival RWE plans to do the same.

OLT operates the floating storage and regasification unit (FSRU) Toscana, located 22 km (14 miles) off the Tuscan coast between Pisa and Livorno, and has a capacity of 3.75 billion cubic metres a year.

($1 = 0.8848 euros)

Reporting by Christoph Steitz and Thomas Seythal; Editing by Tassilo Hummel and Edmund Blair


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