Lasmo fails to sell stake

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The Independent Online
LASMO, the debt-laden oil explorer, has formally taken its interest in the Markham gas field off the market, writes Neil Thapar.

The company put its 33 per cent stake in the field, which straddles in British and Dutch sector of the North Sea, up for sale a year ago at an asking price of about pounds 120m.

Despite lengthy discussions with potential buyers - in particular the German gas utility Wintershall - it failed to reach an agreement.

Joe Darby, Lasmo's chief executive, said: 'From the outset, we indicated we would only consider the disposal of Markham if full value could be realised. We do not believe that bids to date reflect full value and have therefore determined not to proceed with this sale.'

Thanks to other deals, it raised about pounds 400m from disposals last year. They included a package of UK offshore assets - including a 5 per cent interest in Liverpool bay - sold to PowerGen, the electricity generator, for pounds 123m last December.