by Staff Writers
Paris (AFP) Nov 01, 2012
French oil company Maurel et Prom, which operates mainly in Gabon, said on Thursday that it had received approaches for some of its activities but that no agreement was in sight.
The company commented after a report that it had been approached by Chinese oil group Sinopec, and after a surge in its share price.
Shares in Maurel et Prom were showing a gain of 11.45 percent in morning trading in Paris.
The French company said: "Maurel et Prom denies being close to an agreement, but does not deny that it has been contacted by different companies, including several Chinese ones, concerning various assets in Gabon. But no agreement is on the horizon."
The approaches, made several months ago, did not concern the possible acquisition of the entire company, it said.
The shares surged after news agency Bloomberg reported that Sinopec had begun informal talks with a view to a takeover.
Sinopec is the biggest oil refiner in Asia in terms of capacity.
The agency based its report on three sources close to the matter who suggested that a deal might value the French company at more than $2.0 billion (1.55 billion euros) which would represent a premium of about 20 percent on the current capitalisation of about 1.3 billion euros.
Sinopec was unavailable for comment.
The French company draws 95 percent of its production from Gabon where it is one of the biggest producers, but is far smaller than the other two big operators, Total of France and British-Dutch group Shell.
Production by Maurel et Prom rose above 20,000 barrels per day on October 24.
The two majors account for about 60 percent of production in Gabon which totals 220,000-280,000 barrels per day.
Maurel et Prom has said for several years that the company is too small to remain independent, suggesting that it could be taken over or could participate in a merger of equals.
In June, Maurel et Prom denied rumours of a takeover by Shell and by US company Anadarko.
Shares in Maurel et Prom had closed on Wednesday down 0.92 percent at 10.74 euros.
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