Shell considers options after PTT trumps its bid for Cove Energy

Royal Dutch Shell plc (LON:RDSA), pursuing Cove Energy Plc (LON:COV), said on Thursday it was looking into options after Thai oil and gas explorer PTT Exploration and Production Pcl (PINK:PEXNY), or PTTEP, had made a higher, rival offer of GBP2.40 (USD3.80/EUR2.99) a share for the British oil and gas explorer.

Shell, which is currently carrying out a GBP2.20 a share takeover offer for Cove, said it would announce its decision when appropriate.

In the meantime, Shell extended its own offer until 13 June, saying it had secured acceptance for 4.83% in Cove by the bid’s first closing date on 23 May.

The Dutch oil group agreed on 24 April to take over Cove in a deal worth some GBP1.12bn, hoping to strengthen and diversify its global liquefied natural gas (LNG) portfolio of production and development projects.

Cove’s board agreed to back the deal at the time, but it withdrew its support on Wednesday when PTTEP proposed a higher price of GBP1.22bn, saying it was now recommending shareholders to accept PTTEP’s offer.

In his comment, Cove’s CEO, John Craven, said this latest offer represented substantial value for shareholders while recognising the world-class nature of Cove’s assets in East Africa.
For the Thai buyer, the deal allows it to leverage its LNG value chain, in line with the group’s long-term strategic priorities, CEO, Tevin Vongvanich said.

Both offers are subject to winning an acceptance level of at least 90%.