Indian giants set to move in on Cove

The battle for Cove Energy is heating up after two Indian oil giants said they were seeking to trump two earlier offers for the East Africa-focused explorer by preparing an estimated £1.25bn bid.

A bid at that price from the Indian state-owned companies ONGC and Gail would value Cove Energy at 245p a share, eclipsing a 220p offer from Thailand's PTT Exploration and dwarfing Shell's proposal of 195p.

ONGC and Gail's interest was first flagged in the Independent on Saturday.