standoff between Bruno Le Maire and TotalEnergies over the possible transfer of the group’s listing to New York

standoff between Bruno Le Maire and TotalEnergies over the possible transfer of the group’s listing to New York
standoff between Bruno Le Maire and TotalEnergies over the possible transfer of the group’s listing to New York

The government does not intend to let TotalEnergies slip away. The Minister of the Economy spoke this Thursday, a week after the CEO of the oil major indicated that he was considering moving the group’s main listing from the Paris Stock Exchange to that of New York. “I am here to ensure that this does not happen, because I think it is a serious decision,” declared Bruno Le Maire on BFMTV/RMC.

“Is it the supreme interest of the nation to keep Total’s head office in France and Total’s main listing in France? Yes, and so I will fight for that,” he said.

The fact remains that the boss of TotalEnergies assured last week that the group’s head office would remain in Paris.

For the minister in any case, “we need Total”. And to insist: “I have had the opportunity on several occasions to say how much of an asset it is for France to have a large oil company like Total.” Comments that he illustrated by evoking the cap of less than 2 euros per liter of fuel at the pump, introduced by the group during the surge in energy prices.

TotalEnergies: Patrick Pouyanné plans a primary listing of the group on the New York Stock Exchange

A change of tone compared to the minister’s first reaction, Sunday on LCI, when Bruno Le Maire considered that it was necessary “ also sweep in front of our door ”, and that we offer to TotalEnergies “ ways to develop » by accelerating on the capital markets union in the EU.

“Business Matter”

Currently, the group’s main listing is established on the Paris Stock Exchange and securities are listed on those of London and New York, but on a secondary basis.

If TotalEnergies plans to establish itself mainly on the American Stock Exchange, it is in particular because of the rise in power of its North American institutional shareholder base. “I think it’s a legitimate question,” indicated Patrick Pouyanné to the economic press agency Bloomberg, specifying that “it’s not a question of emotion” but ” a matter of business.” The share of North American institutional shareholding increased from 33% to 48% (including 47% for the United States) between 2012 and 2023, while that of Europe (excluding the United Kingdom) increased from 45%. % to 34%. Institutional ownership represents 78% of the company’s total ownership.

The CEO of this flagship of the CAC 40 also cited as a reason Europe’s reluctance regarding its strategy which consists of continuing to invest in fossil fuels to continue to remunerate its shareholders and finance its transition to low carbon energies. The French Minister of the Economy replied this Thursday that ” the best way “ to meet the group’s financing needs was to set up a capital markets union (CMU) in the European Union, which France is calling for to direct the savings of Europeans towards financing the energy transition and digital.

Benefits and risks

A listing on the New York Stock Exchange would present significant economic advantages for TotalEnergies. The panel of investors is wider on Wall Street and more liquidity is available, according to Christopher Dembik, investment strategy advisor at international manager Pictet AM, interviewed by The gallery. This transfer would help the French major to get closer to a valuation close to its competitors and would provide it with greater ease of investment in liquefied natural gas (LNG), a raw material of which the United States is among the largest producers and exporters in the world.

But it is not without risks. “In the 90s, a certain number of French companies tried the adventure. But they came back because it was expensive compared to the benefits they got in return. In particular, access to certain foreign markets,” adds the financial expert.

In any case, the decision has not yet been made. The subject will be put on the table next September, during a board meeting.

(With AFP)

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