Australian oil and gas explorer AWE has received yet another takeover proposal, a third in a space of just a few months, this time by the Japanese company Mitsui.
The approach by Mitsui follows recent approaches by China’s CERCG and Australia’s Mineral Resources.
To remind, AWE directors rejected the Chinese offer, and in December urged shareholders to accept the Mineral Resources’ offer which was “$0.415 paid in cash and between 0.0198 and 0.0277 Mineral Resources shares per AWE share.“
In a statement on Monday, AWE said it received an unsolicited, non-binding and conditional proposal from Mitsui & Co Ltd to acquire 100% of the shares in AWE for cash consideration of $0.95 per share.
According to The Sydney Morning Herald, Mitsui’s offer values AWE at $602 million, compared to Mineral Resources $526 million.
Mitsui said the potential deal was conditional on the termination of the takeover process by Mineral Resources by February 2 and on an agreement of a bid implementation deed (BID) through which AWE’s directors unanimously recommend acceptance of a takeover bid to implement the Mitsui Proposal, in the absence of a superior proposal.
“The AWE Board will evaluate the Mitsui Proposal and provide shareholders with a recommendation in due course,“ AWE said, advising shareholders to take no action in relation to the Mitsui Proposal or the CERCG offer until they receive further advice from the AWE Board.
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.
This was confirmed in December by one of the bidders, Chinas CERCG who said: “…CERCG Australia acknowledges that the Waitsia Gas Field, and its increasing 2P Reserves and future development, has the potential to return value to AWE Shareholders in the longer term…
In its recent annual report, AWE said it optimized its assets to focus on gas in the near to medium term “and is aligned with strengthening Australian domestic gas markets.”
The company’s priorities focus on on the development of Stage 2 of the Waitsia gas project in Western Australia and securing new gas sales contracts for Casino and BassGas on the east coast at substantially higher prices.