Imperial Energy opens books to China, but Indian rival is still in the running
Imperial Energy has opened its books to the Chinese state-owned oil company Sinopec, but talks are still continuing with its Indian rival.
Imperial confirmed on Monday that it had received an approach, with sources close to the deal confirming the bidder as China Petroleum and Chemical Company, also known as Sinopec. It is believed to have made an offer worth up to £1.4bn. The offer trumps one made by the Indian state owned Oil and Natural Gas last month, which was worth £1.3bn. However, sources close to the deal reiterated that ONGC was still in the running and it may up its price.
The tussle for control between the two companies – the first time state owned firms from India and China have fought for a listed British company – sets the stage for one of the biggest takeover bids on the London Stock Exchange by a Chinese company. The International Energy Agency forecasts that Chinese demand for energy will grow by 6 per cent this year, and Indian demand by 5 per cent. Meanwhile, some reports suggested that the Korea National Oil Corporation was also considering a bid for Imperial. It tried to buy Burren Energy last year but was outbid by Italy’s Eni.
Imperial was founded by chairman Peter Levine in 2004. Shares in the company sank over 5 per cent to 1,100p yesterday, wiping out some of the gains made in Monday’s trading.