Enagas-led group withdraws from race to acquire gas network TIGF

A consortium led by Spain’s Enagas SA (MCE:ENG) unveiled its decision not to submit an offer for French oil and gas firm Total SA’s TIGF gas network and storage business as the target does not match its strategy.

The consortium also includes Canadian fund Borealis and two other firms.

The remaining participants in the race are two group of investors. Belgium’s natural gas operator Fluxys Belgium SA (EBR:FLUX) and French state-controlled lender Caisse des Depots et Consignations (CDC) have joined hands with AXA Private Equity, Credit Agricole SA’s (EPA:ACA) Predica insurance unit, CNP Assurances SA (EPA:CNP) and the Abu Dhabi Investment Authority.

The other consortium includes French energy giant Electricite de France SA (EPA:EDF), which has teamed up with Singaporean sovereign wealth fund The Government of Singapore Investment Corporation Pte Ltd (GIC) and Italy’s Snam SpA (BIT:SRG).

The vendor expects firm bids by 4 February, Reuters said previously, citing sources.

The sale of TIGF, announced last autumn, is part of Total’s strategy to sell as much as EUR20bn (USD26.7bn) worth of assets by 2014 to bolster its cash flow and provide funds for substantial investments. According to analyst estimates, TIGF is valued at some EUR2.5bn.

Ireland’s Petroceltic acquires oil and gas group Melrose Resources

Irish oil and gas explorer and producer Petroceltic International Plc (LON:PCI) has agreed to buy Melrose Resources plc (LON:MRS) in an all-stock deal valuing the British sector player at some GBP165m (USD259.4m/EUR210m), the pair said on Friday.

The combination will create an independent oil and gas company focused on North Africa, the Mediterranean and Black Sea, with a portfolio including production, development and high-impact exploration assets, the companies said.

Under the deal terms, Petroceltic is paying 17.6 new own shares for every Melrose share, with the target to also pay to its shareholders a dividend of GBP0.047 a share.

The merger will give existing Melrose shareholders 46% in the combined company, while Petroceltic’s stockholders will have the other 54%, the companies said.

The enlarged group will have an increased financial flexibility, allowing it to pursue growth through active exploration drilling and participation in the future development of Petroceltic’s Ain Tsila gas development in Algeria.

After the merger, the combined company will seek an additional premium listing in London, which the two firms see as a means to attract investors and funds.

Melrose board, advised by Lambert Energy Advisory, N+1 Brewin and HSBC Holdings Plc (LON:HSBA), deemed the terms of the deal fair to shareholders and plans to recommend them to vote in favour of it at their meeting to be scheduled around 20 September.
The transaction will see Melrose become a private company operating as a fully-owned unit of Petroceltic.

Completion, expected to take place on 10 October, also needs to secure clearance from the Bulgarian Commission on Protection of Competition.

Melrose is an oil and gas exploration, development and production company with interests in Egypt, Bulgaria, Romania, the US, Turkey and France.

Indonesia’s national oil company PT Pertamina acquires Harvest’s Venezuelan assets

HNR Energia BV, a wholly owned subsidiary of US oil exploration company Harvest Natural Resources Inc (NYSE: HNR), has entered into a definitive share purchase agreement (SPA) that will see Indonesia’s national oil company PT Pertamina (Persero) pay USD725m (EUR578m) in cash for Harvest’s Venezuelan assets.

Under the terms of the transaction, PT Pertamina will acquire the 32% stake held by Harvest in Petrodelta SA through buying HNR Energia’s 80% holding in Harvest-Vinccler Dutch Holding BV. Texas-based Harvest said it expected the deal to produce net gains of about USD525m after transaction costs and taxes are deducted.

One closing condition is the receipt of approvals from the governments of Venezuela and Indonesia. The SPA can be terminated by either side in case that all closing conditions have not been met by 21 March 2013.

Harvest’s president and CEO James A. Edmiston described the entry into the SPA as a major step towards completing the execution of the strategic alternatives initiative Harvest launched in 2010. The deal is testament to Petrodelta’s potential and underscores the success achieved by Harvest and Petrleos de Venezuela SA (PDVSA) during their 20-year partnership.

Edmiston went on to add that the transaction would provide numerous future options for Harvest and its shareholders. Furthermore, it will give Petrodelta and PDVSA an international partner with the strength and financial means to ensure Petrodelta’s future success.