Abbot wins battle for oil operator OIS

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The Independent Online

Industrial Correspondent

Aberdeen-based Abbot Group has won the battle for control of OIS International, the oil services company that was floated at the end of 1992. Abbot saw off a counter-attack launched on Thursday morning by OGC International, also based in Aberdeen, which had won the agreement of the OIS board.

Abbot, best known for its KCA drilling subsidiary, originally offered around pounds 8m for OIS just before Christmas after exploratory talks broke down. OIS, whose profits slumped to pounds 144,000 in the year to December 1994 from pounds 2.2m the previous year, dismissed the offer as opportunistic.

The approach of a white knight in the form of OGC was welcomed as an opportunity to increase the range of services offered by by the two companies, which have links dating back to 1977. But the rival 28p-per-share bid from OGC was quickly trumped by a renewed 32p cash offer from Abbot. The renewed bid, which includes an alternative of five Abbot shares for every eight in OIS, values the company at more than pounds 9.9m. Abbot last night owned or had acceptances for more than 52 per cent of its target.

Shares in OIS, which came to the market at 50p, rose by 4.5p to 32p. The company has been struggling to recover from severe problems in 1994, when some key contracts were lost or deferred and margins took a battering in the face of fierce competition.

OIS specialises in technical inspection services for the offshore industry and was established in 1972 with bases in Aberdeen and Great Yarmouth.