January 14, 2019 / 7:22 AM / 10 days ago

UK's Ophir Energy rejects Medco's buyout offer

(Reuters) - Ophir Energy Plc (OPHR.L) said on Monday that it has rejected Indonesian oil and gas group Medco Energi Internasional Tbk PT’s (MEDC.JK) potential buyout offer, saying it “undervalues” the British energy company.

Medco, which had made an unsolicited approach to buy Ophir in October last year, said on Friday it could offer 340 million pounds ($437 million) in cash for London-listed Ophir, which has assets in south-east Asia.

Medco has made several overtures for Ophir. The Indonesian company’s offer of 48.5 pence per Ophir share is significantly lower than its initial offer of 58 pence per share, having already reduced it to 53.8 pence in December.

Ophir, which is set to provide a 12-month trading update on Tuesday, said its board considered Medco’s latest offer and unanimously took the decision to reject it, without giving further details.

“Don’t now sell this business for less than it is worth - or possibly, if a firm bid is made that isn’t high enough, don’t sell this business at all,” Stifel analysts said in a note, adding that it is also “urging” Ophir to lay out its vision for the company.

Under British takeover rules, Medco’s fully-owned unit PT Medco Energi Global has until Jan. 28 to make a firm offer or walk away.

Ophir’s shares lost nearly half of their value last year as it failed to find financing for a liquefied natural gas project in Africa’s Equatorial Guinea. The company expects to write down $300 million on the project and also shift its headquarters from London to Asia, where it bought assets in 2018.

Reporting by Pushkala Aripaka in Bengaluru; Editing by Shounak Dasgupta, Bernard Orr

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