GE launches bid for British group Wellstream

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The US industrial conglomerate General Electric said Monday it had launched a friendly takeover bid worth 1.3 billion dollars for British oil services company Wellstream Holdings.

GE said it hoped the offer, worth 800 million pounds (953 million euros), would be completed in the first quarter of 2011.

General Electric is offering 780 pence for each Wellstream share, along with a special dividend of six pence.

Wellstream has twice rejected offers from GE but the parties in the last few days managed to reach an agreement, the Financial Times newspaper reported.

The paper said the last offer was for 750 pence per share, which would value Wellstream at 755 million pounds.

Wellstream is active at two production sites in Britain and Brazil, employing about 850 people and is a leading supplier of flexible pipes for the oil and gas sector.

Its operation in Brazil is among its chief attractions, with the Brazilian energy giant Petrobras among its biggest clients.

Wellstream last year had an operating profit of 79 million dollars from sales of 602 million dollars.

© 2010 AFP

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