Oil major Total makes near €1bn wager on renewable energy with bid for battery maker Saft

Jessica Morris
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Total said last month it had created a new gas, renewable energy and power division (Source: Getty)

French oil major Total made a €950m (£750m) bid for battery maker Saft, effectively increasing its wager on the renewable energy sector.

It said that the €36.5 per share offer represents a 38.3 per cent premium to Saft's closing price as of Friday.

The friendly offer has already received unanimous approval from Saft's board, but it's still subject to a review by the French financial markets authority (AMF).

It also marks Total's latest fray into the renewable energy market, after spending $1.4bn on a controlling stake in American solar energy firm SunPower in 2011.

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Total has been hamstrung by oil prices which have tumbled more than 60 per cent since the middle of 2014.

Last month, it announced the creation of a new gas, renewable energy and power division as part of its drive to become a top renewables and electricity trading player within 20 years.

"The acquisition of Saft is part of Total's ambition to accelerate its development in the fields of renewable energy and electricity," Patrick Pouyanné, Chairman and chief executive of Total, said.

Read more: Total ramps up cost-cutting measures to combat low oil prices

"Saft's renowned technological know-how and unique expertise have allowed it to develop innovative and competitive solutions for its clients. It will notably allow up to complement our portfolio with electricity storage solutions, a key component of the future growth of renewable energy."

Ghislain Lescuyer, Saft’s chief executive, added: "I am convinced that Total will provide Saft with the required expertise and resources needed for its future development, particularly in terms of technological and commercial capabilities."

Total shares were largely flat at €42.57 this afternoon.

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