AWE urges shareholders to accept Mitsui’s takeover bid

Australian oil and gas producer AWE has urged shareholders to accept Mitsui’s $0.95 per share takeover offer.

To remind, AWE previously recommended that its shareholders accept a takeover offer made by Australia’s Mineral Resources (MinReas).

However, upon receiving the Mitsui offer last week, AWE had given three days to MinRes to match Mitsui’s bid.

In a statement on Monday, AWE said: “AWE advises that MinRes did not match the proposal from Mitsui within the time period specified in the MinRes SID. As the AWE Board has determined that the Mitsui Takeover Bid is superior to the MinRes Scheme proposal, the AWE Board has now withdrawn its recommendation of the MinRes Scheme, and unanimously recommends that AWE shareholders accept the Mitsui Takeover Bid at $0.95 per share, in the absence of a superior proposal and subject to the independent expert concluding that the Mitsui offer price is fair and reasonable.”

The Mitsui offer price of $0.95 per share values AWE at a market capitalization of $602 million.

The Mitsui takeover bid is subject to a 50.1% minimum acceptance condition, and a limited number of other conditions, and is not subject to any regulatory approvals or financing conditions.

AWE Chairman Ken Williams said: “The Mitsui proposal, being all cash and pitched at a significant premium to the competing offers received by the AWE board, represented a superior value proposition. This is an excellent opportunity for shareholders to crystallise their investment in AWE at an attractive price”.

David Biggs, AWE’s CEO and Managing Director added: “It is very satisfying to see the considerable value that we have created from our portfolio, particularly with the Waitsia Gas Project, recognized by such a high quality and respected organisation as Mitsui.”

In a separate statement, AWE told shareholders to reject the $0.73 per share cash takeover bid from China Energy Reserve and Chemical Australia Pty Ltd (CERCG Australia).

AWE is an independent oil and gas company with offshore and onshore oil and gas operations in the Asia Pacific region. It’s been reported that the interested parties have been particularly in awe of AWE’s large Waitsia gas field near Perth, Australia.

The company has recently confirmed Waitsia as “a world class onshore gas field” with the recent appraisal drilling and “outstanding” flow test results from Waitsia-2, -3 and -4 leading to an 80% increase in gross 2P Reserves to 820 PJ ranking the field in the top five largest gas fields ever discovered onshore Australia.

Providing rationale behind its takeover offer, Mitsui on Monday said: “Mitsui has decided to make this Offer as acquiring AWE’s portfolio of interests is consistent with Mitsui’s ongoing strategy to invest in good quality oil and gas assets in Australia and obtaining an operational platform to expand more broadly in the Australian gas sector.”

Offshore Energy Today Staff

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