S.Korea's state oil firm claims control over Britain's Dana

24th September 2010, Comments 0 comments

South Korea's state oil firm said Friday its takeover bid for British oil explorer Dana Petroleum has won support from holders of 64 percent of the shares.

Korea National Oil Corp (KNOC), which plans to secure at least 75 percent so it can delist the Aberdeen-based company, said in a statement its 1,800 pence-a-share offer is now wholly unconditional.

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

On August 20 KNOC went straight to the shareholders with a 1.87 billion pound (2.9 billion dollar) bid.

"Following its purchase of 29.5 percent of Dana shares on September 17, the corporation has received acceptances from shareholders for the sale of an additional 34.76 percent of Dana shares," KNOC said.

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.

"KNOC is seeking to acquire 75 percent or more of the stake so that Dana can be delisted," a spokesman told AFP. "In that case the market value and liquidity of shares still held by shareholders will significantly decrease.

"We urge those shareholders who have not accepted the offer to do so immediately.

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

South Korea, which must import virtually all its energy needs, has been moving more aggressively to secure stable overseas supplies in the face of competition from China.

KNOC acquired a 50 percent stake in Peru's Petro-Tech Peruana for 450 million dollars in February 2009, and bought Canda's Harvest Energy Trust for 3.9 billion dollars last October.

But it lost out to Chinese state firm Sinopec in the competition for Switzerland-based Addax Petroleum last year.

Earlier this month Dana released a lengthy document outlining its growth strategy and suggesting a considerably higher valuation is justified. KNOC refused to raise its offer price.

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

© 2010 AFP

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