(Adds Saipem’s statement it will appeal July 11 court decision on Nigeria)
MILAN, Jan 10 (Reuters) - Italy’s Saipem used to be Europe’s biggest oil services company. But a corruption probe and two profit warnings have wiped around 50 percent off its market value.
The company, 43 percent owned by oil major Eni, says it expects to recover in 2014 thanks to better margins, but analysts remain concerned over possible cost overruns on projects and fallout from a probe into alleged corruption in Algeria.
Here is a timeline of key developments in the Saipem slide over the past year as the new management team under CEO Umberto Vergine seeks to steady the ship.
Oct. 24, 2012 - Former Saipem CEO Pietro Franco Tali confirms full-year guidance for a 2012 net profit of around 1 billion euros.
Dec. 5, 2012 - Tali resigns after news emerges that the oil services group is being investigated by Milan prosecutors for corruption over contracts in Algeria.
Jan. 29 - Traders say a stake of 2.3 percent of Saipem shares is placed at 30.65 euros per share. It later emerges BlackRock was the seller.
Jan. 29 - Following the stake sale, Saipem shocks the market when it cuts its 2012 guidance and issues a new forecast for a 2013 profit of 450 million euros.
February - Market watchdog Consob opens a probe into the profit warning and stake sale.
Feb. 7 - Judicial sources tell Reuters that Eni CEO Paolo Scaroni is under investigation in the Algeria corruption probe. Scaroni denies involvement.
Apr. 26 - Saipem says auditors found failings in internal control systems of the group.
Apr. 24 - Saipem operational review says well positioned to capture market opportunities and deliver on margin recovery.
Jun. 14 - Saipem issues a second profit warning as fast worsening relations with Algeria prompt it to forecast a full-year net loss for 2013.
Jul. 17 - Investigation by external consultants into Algeria contracts finds no evidence of payments to Algerian officials. At the same time, Saipem says it is working with U.S. Department of Justice in an investigation into possible irregularities involving the contracts in Algeria.
Jul. 2 - Saipem says a drilling rig sinks after an incident in the area between Angola and the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Jul. 11 - Saipem is found guilty of international corruption over contracts in Nigeria. The company says there are no valid grounds for the ruling and that it will appeal.
Jul. 30 - Saipem appoints a corporate law veteran to its board to work on corporate governance record.
Aug. 6 - Consob challenges Saipem’s accounting practices regarding a series of contracts and says could force it to book a charge of 130 million euros in its 2012 results.
Sept. 19 - Milan prosecutors investigate Saipem for alleged market manipulation and insider trading over the 2.3 percent stake placement, investigative sources say.
Dec 6 - Consob closes review begun in July on 2012 results but keeps open monitoring of 2013 results. (Reporting by Stephen Jewkes; Editing by Sophie Walker)