KNOC says it won’t increase its £1.67bn Dana Petroleum bid

KOREA National Oil Corporation (KNOC) ruled out raising its £1.67bn hostile bid for Dana Petroleum yesterday after winning the backing of almost half the UK oil explorer’s shareholders, and said it plans to make more acquisitions.

Despite a strong set of interim results expected from Dana on Friday, the state-owned KNOC said in a statement that its £18 a share offer is final unless a rival bid forces it to raise its offer or new information about the firm emerges.

“We believe our offer values Dana fairly and fully and have no plan to consider raising it,” KNOC chief executive Kang Young-won said.

The Dana deal, if completed, will boost KNOC’s production by 50,000 barrels per day (bpd) and move it a step closer to meeting its target of 300,000 bpd by 2012, but the firm needs to make more acquisitions to meet its output goals.

Kang said: “We are looking worldwide for acquisitions but at the moment my focus is really on pulling this Dana deal through.”

KNOC launched a hostile bid last week after friendly talks failed, and has already secured non-binding letters of intent from 48 per cent of Dana shareholders, including several private equity funds.

Dana, co-founded by Tom Cross, declined to comment on KNOC’s statement. The FTSE 250-listed firm’s shares closed broadly flat at £18.05, slightly above the price currently offered by KNOC and an increase of 53 per cent since the takeover talks were revealed in early July.