June 7, 2012 / 6:36 PM / in 6 years

Snam signs 11 bln eur loan accord with 11 banks

MILAN, June 7 (Reuters) - Italian gas group Snam signed on Thursday an agreement with 11 banks for credit lines worth 11 billion euros, securing one of this year’s biggest syndicated loan deals as it gears up to separate from oil and gas major ENI.

“The signing of the agreement represents a further significant step towards Snam’s financial independence from ENI, a process which remains on schedule,” Snam said in a statement.

ENI announced last month the sale of 30 percent of Snam minus one share to state-controlled holding company CDP for 3.5 billion euros as part of a government-designed plan to separate the two companies.

ENI plans to sell out of the gas company completely.

The loan is set to refinance the 11 billion euros of debt that Snam will inherit from ENI when the two companies split.

Snam said this week its board had approved a programme to issue bonds for a total of up to 8 billion euros by June 2013.

The agreement will provide Snam with banking credit which will be progressively replaced as it issues the bonds under the programme.

The 11 banks are Banca IMI-Intesa Sanpaolo, Bank of America-Merrill Lynch, BNP Paribas, Citi , HSBC, JP Morgan, Mediobanca, Morgan Stanley, Societe Generale, UBS , UniCredit.

The bank’s commitment is subject to the completion of the related financing contracts by the end of July, Snam said.

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