Conexus applies for certification with Gazprom shareholders still on board
In spite of the fact that there are representatives from Russian Gazprom concern among shareholders of Conexus Baltic Grid, the company has decided to submit an application to the Public Utilities Commission for certification.
Conexus chairperson Zane Kotāne explains – to accomplish ownership rights division’s main objective, Conexus, regardless of the composition of its shareholders, has managed to ensure that the transmission system’s operator is able to make decisions independently, ensuring transparency and avoiding discrimination towards transmission system’s users and market participants. When preparing necessary documents, Conexus complied with European Commission’s explanations regarding separation of ownership rights and execution of control in compliance with requirements for transmission system operator’s independence. With that, Conexus has prepared documents in accordance with Public Utilities Commission’s requirements for certification, which detail the necessary information to prove safe function of IT systems, protection of commercial information and equal treatment of all market participants. During the preparation process of certification documents, an independent IT auditor confirmed the safety for circulation of commercial information and did not find problems with associated processes.
«Our submitted documents will now be evaluated by specialists of the Public Utilities Commission. Conexus is prepared to cooperate to provide the commission with all the necessary information it may need to make a decision,» said Kotāne.
When asked to explain if Gazprom’s representatives among Conexus shareholders may present an obstacle for certification, Kotāne said that the company’s board is unable to influence Gazprom’s decisions in regards to sale of shares.
«But we cannot try developing business principles in a way to fit requirements for certification and in spite of Gazprom owning shares in Conexus. We have followed Europe’s definitions for separation of shares. Shareholder rights are expressed in many different ways. There are different ways that are permitted with preservation of shares, and those that are not permitted. It is established in Conexus statutes that the only rights available to shareholders that have not sold shares before independence requirement came into force, which applies to Gazprom in this case, are for dividends and liquidation quotas. As a result, any rights that are normally associated with shareholders – voting rights, management rights, information reception rights – are not available to Gazprom,» said Kotāne. She also notes that there has already been one meeting of shareholders and one meeting of the company’s council this year. Gazprom representatives were present at neither of those meetings.
«With that, we have proposed our own solution to the regulator to reduce risks in relation to certification,» added Kotāne. An agreement was reached on 15 December with Uniper on the procurement of 18.31% of Conexus Baltic Grid. On 27 December, Conexus reached an agreement with Itera Latvija on procurement of shares. Procurement of shares was performed by Latvian state-owned Augstsprieguma tīkls. No information is available on sale of Gazprom shares.
Gazprom owns 34.1% of Conexus Baltic Grid, whereas 29.06% are owned by Marguerite Gas, 34.36% – by Augstsprieguma tīkls and 2.48% – by other shareholders.