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Saipem aims to raise 750 million euros from asset sales

FILE PHOTO: A staff member is seen on the Saipem 10000 deepwater drillship in Genoa's harbour

MILAN (Reuters) - Italian energy services group Saipem aims to raise about 750 million euros ($796 million) from the partial sale of assets in its drilling business, CEO Alessandro Puliti said on Tuesday, citing shallow water vessels in particular.

Saipem, in which energy group Eni and Italian state lender CDP own stakes, has pledged to sell assets worth 1.5 billion euros to strengthen its balance sheet after its profit warning in January 2022 sent its shares tumbling 30%.

Last year it raised nearly half of the targeted sum, partly thanks to the divestment of its drilling onshore business.

"We will deliver the remaining 750 million euros," Puliti said speaking at a post-result conference call.

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Last year it had to complete a life-saving 2 billion euro capital increase to plug a hole in its balance sheet caused by cost overruns at several offshore wind projects.

Late on Monday, the group said it had raised its earnings expectations for 2023 and the next few years after beating 2022 targets as its restructuring plan started to bear fruit.

After a strategy revision announced in March, adjusted net loss shrank to 139 million euros last year from 1.9 billion euros in 2021.

Saipem, a market leader in subsea exploration and construction and provider of services to the oil industry, said last week it sealed a commercial agreement with Norway's Seaway7 to jointly bid for and execute fixed offshore wind projects.

Asked whether the deal with the Norwegian group could evolve into a broader alliance, Puliti did not rule out a further development and called the commercial deal a very important first step.

Despite progressing with its turnaround, Saipem did not commit to dividend payments for now.

"We will not be able to define a dividend policy before 2024," Saipem CFO Calcagnini said.

($1 = 0.9428 euros)

(Reporting by Francesca Landini; Editing by Tomasz Janowski)