Mitsui beats CERCG, Mineral Resources in AWE pursuit

Mitsui beats CERCG, Mineral Resources in AWE pursuit

Mon, 05/02/2018 - 12:52

Flow testing at the Waitsia gas field, in the Perth basin. Photo: AWE

China Energy Reserve and Chemical Australia has lost its bid to acquire oil and gas exploration firm AWE, with the sought-after company signing a $602 million takeover deal with Japan’s Mitsui.

CERCG had offered 73 cents per share in AWE, but was trumped in recent weeks by Mitsui, which offered shareholders 95 cents per share.

The CERCG offer equated to a $460 million valuation for AWE.

Mitsui also headed off a takeover bid by Perth-based Mineral Resources, which AWE confirmed today would not match Mitsui’s higher bid.

Mineral Resource’s takeover scheme valued AWE at 83 cents per share.

Today, AWE announced to the ASX that it had signed a bid implementation deed with Mitsui, while at the same time terminating the Mineral Resources approach.

AWE also instructed its shareholders not to accept CERCG’s offer.

Chairman Ken Williams said the all-cash Mitsui proposal represented a superior value proposition for shareholders.

“This is an excellent opportunity for shareholders to crystallise their investment in AWE at an attractive price,” Mr Williams said.

AWE’s key asset, a 50 per cent stake in the Waitsia gas field in the onshore Perth Basin, has attracted considerable international interest.

Prior to Mitsui, CERCG and Mineral Resources making takeover approaches, US-based private equity group Lone Star made a $421 million offer for AWE in 2016.