S.Korea's KNOC has claim to 64 pct stake in Britain's Dana

24th September 2010, Comments 0 comments

South Korea's state-owned oil firm said Friday it now has a claim on more than 64 percent of British oil explorer Dana Petroleum, after launching a hostile takeover.

Korea National Oil Corp (KNOC) said in a statement that its 1800 pence-a-share offer for the Aberdeen-based firm is now wholly unconditional.

KNOC made a 1.87 billion pound (2.9 billion dollar) bid for Dana on August 20. As of Friday, it said, it either owns or has received valid acceptances from shareholders of 64.26 percent of the shares.

The firm said it has waived the 90 percent acceptance requirement it initially set, and extended the offer for Dana's shares until further notice.

On Thursday the UK competition authority gave the go-ahead for the deal, clearing a potential obstacle.

KNOC said that if it secured 75 percent or more of Dana, it would delist the company -- meaning shareholders who hold out would be left with stakes whose liquidity is seriously restricted.

If it secures 90 percent or more of the firm, KNOC said, it will be able to exercise its right to buy the remaining shares under British law.

The Korean firm made its first approach to Dana in July but management of the two firms could not agree on a price.

Earlier this month Dana released a lengthy document outlining its growth strategy and suggesting a higher valuation is justified. But KNOC refused to raise its offer price and gave it until September 23 to formally decide.

Dana has interests in 36 producing oil and gas fields, including in Egypt and the North Sea.

South Korea is the latest Asian nation to seek overseas expansion after Chinese state firm Sinopec bought Switzerland-based Addax Petroleum for 7.2 billion dollars last year.

Industry experts forecast that Asia will drive global energy demand in coming years.

© 2010 AFP

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