April 9, 2018 / 9:37 AM / 2 years ago

China's ENN to 'consider' Harbour Energy's takeover offer for Australia's Santos

FILE PHOTO: The logo of Australian oil and gas producer Santos Ltd is pictured at their Sydney office February 15, 2016. REUTERS/Jason Reed/File photo

BEIJING (Reuters) - China’s ENN Ecological Holdings Co. Ltd (600803.SS), the largest stakeholder in Australian gas producer Santos Ltd (STO.AX), said it will “cautiously study and consider” a takeover offer from U.S. firm Harbour Energy.

The Shanghai-listed company said it hopes to maintain a long-term strategic relationship with Santos and has no plan to offload its shares for cash, the Chinese firm said in a stock filing on April 4.

China was closed April 5-7 for the Tomb Sweeping Festival holiday.

ENN said it would continue to indirectly invest in Santos via a special-purpose vehicle.

The company’s board has authorized Santos’ management to conduct relevant negotiations and consultations with Harbour Energy regarding the takeover bid.

Santos said last week it would “engage with” Harbour Energy after receiving a $10.4 billion takeover offer from the U.S. company, its fourth unsolicited bid since August 2017.

Under Harbour’s offer, ENN and Chinese private equity firm Hony Capital will be allowed to retain a stake of up to 20 percent.

Reporting by Chen Aizhu; Editing by Biju Dwarakanath

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