Bidding war to buy Regal Petroleum

A BATTLE to purchase British oil explorer Regal Petroleum was last night emerging following a second offer for the firm from a rival bidder.

The oil and gas company had agreed to be taken over by Energees Investments, the principal holding company of Ukranian Smart Holding Group, for 24p per share in December.

Yet, Cyprus-based financing company Heamoor and private oil explorer Geo-Alliance, the Ukranian oil company owned by oligarch Victor Pinchuk, yesterday entered the running with a joint rival offer of 25p per share in a reverse takeover.

The Regal board continues to support the earlier offer, which shareholders must decide on by next Monday, yet is exploring ways to maximise value for investors who had been holding out for an improved offer.

Shares in the oil firm had traded at a 2010 high of 85p per share, although have slumped since. The company closed higher than both offers at 31p per share on Monday.

Shareholders have until next Monday to back the Energees bid, though could wait for the findings of a Regal due diligence report into the new offer.

AIM listed Regal Petroleum suspended trading yesterday on the London Stock Exchange in accordance with takeover regulations.