* Italgas assets placed under court administration
* Italgas accounts for about 25 pct of Snam operating profit
* H1 EBIT rises on higher gas storage volumes (Recasts lead, adds detail)
MILAN, July 30 (Reuters) - Italian gas transport group Snam said on Wednesday a recent court decision to put its distribution unit Italgas under judicial administration would not have a major impact on its business.
Earlier this month, a Sicilian court placed Italgas assets under administration as it investigated certain suppliers that may have breached the country’s anti-Mafia rules.
As a result of the measure, a management body appointed by the court will have full powers over Italgas’s business for a period of six months, which can be extended by a further six months.
“On the basis of information currently available the potential impact of the measure on consolidated net assets and the group’s net financial position as well as on Snam and the group as a going concern is judged to be not significant,” the company said.
Italgas is Italy’s biggest gas distributor with about one third of the market and accounted for around 25 percent of Snam’s operating profits in the first half.
In the first six months of 2014, earnings before interest and taxes (EBIT) rose 2.4 percent to 1.04 billion euros ($1.4 billion), boosted by gas storage volumes, Snam said. That compared with analysts’ average forecast of 1.02 billion euros in a Reuters poll.
Snam - which has transport, storage and distribution businesses - said it expected Italian gas demand this year to be lower than in 2013.
Italy’s ongoing recession has led to lower gas demand from the power sector and business, meaning less gas is being injected into the transport system.
$1 = 0.7459 Euros Reporting by Stephen Jewkes; Editing by Mark Potter