PTT bid outstrips Shell offer for Cove

Shares in the Mozambique explorer Cove Energy shot up 12 per cent yesterday as Thailand's PTT Exploration and Production made a £1.2bn offer, trumping a bid from Shell.

Only hours before an investor deadline to accept Shell's bid, Cove management, having previously supported the Anglo-Dutch explorer's 220p-per-share offer, threw its weight instead behind PTT.

Cove's chief executive, John Craven, said: "The [240p-per-share] bid from PTTEP represents significant value for shareholders and confirms the world-class nature of Cove's East African assets."

The shares, which were already above Shell's offer, rose 26p to 250p as investors anticipated more bids.