China, India in battle for UK energy firm: Report

August 4th, 2008 - 5:39 pm ICT by IANS  

London, Aug 4 (IANS) Shares of a Russia-focussed oil and gas company rallied Monday after reports that China was rivalling a buy-up bid by the Oil and Natural Gas Corp Ltd (ONGC) of India. Imperial Energy, a London-listed energy group, Monday refused to name the rival-bidders, merely saying: “In response to further press speculation, the board of Imperial confirms that it has received another approach in relation to a possible cash offer for the company.”

The Daily Telegraph newspaper, however, named the company as Sinopec Group, the state-owned parent company of the US-traded China Petroleum and Chemical Corp, one of China’s leading oil refiners.

Although ONGC too remains unnamed, British media said last month its offer is in the region of 1.3 billion pounds.

Following the Chinese move, Sinopec’s Shanghai-traded shares fell 1.6 percent by midday Monday to 11.20 yuan. However, Imperial Energy rose 10 percent, business information provider MarketWatch reported.

British media said the Chinese company, which has been given access to Imperial’s books, is poised to table a higher offer than 1.3 billion pounds.

The oil exploration and production company, which is largely active in Siberia and Kazakhstan, responded to the first bid approach in July by warning shareholders that there was “no certainty” an offer would be forthcoming.

Reports have also spoken of a third company, Korea National Oil Corp, having shown interest in the deal.

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