pounds 180m bid battle for Aran

MARY FAGAN

Industrial Correspondent

The battle for control of the Irish oil company, Aran Energy, intensified yesterday as Arco of the US raised its offer to up to pounds 182m, and Statoil of Norway confirmed it may launch a counter-bid. It also emerged that Arco approached Aran last Friday in the hope of discussing an agreed takeover, only to be told that the company was in talks with a potential white knight.

Arco's renewed offer compares with an earlier bid of pounds 160m and is below the level expected by some City analysts. The value of the fresh offer could also fall if Aran's shareholders approve a deal agreed two weeks ago with Statoil in relation to the Connemara field off the west coast of Ireland.

Under the Connemara deal, Statoil has six months to decide whether to pay millions of pounds for the cost of drilling and testing in the area in return for taking half of the production from the field. Arco said that the arrangement transfers value away from Aran and has tabled an alternative offer of pounds 177m if shareholders agree the deal.

Arco also attacked Aran's decision to seek shareholder approval for the Connemara move on 23 October, the day before Arco's offer closes. The US group said: "Aran's decision to select a meeting date of 23 October 1995 is a blatant attempt to frustrate the due process of Arco's offer and, as a consequence, to complicate matters for Aran's shareholders."

Arco is believed to have increased its offer on the basis of the value of Aran's stake in the Schiehallion field west of Shetland - widely thought to be the main reason for the US group's bid. But Arco's valuation of Irpounds 55m is still far short of Aran's figure of Irpounds 77m.

The renewed offer values Aran's shares at up to 69.5p, compared with last night's closing price of 73.5p, an increase of 0.75p on the day. Michael Whelan, Aran's chairman and founder, said: "There is nothing in this that we can possibly begin to recommend. It is simply not adequate."

Investment column, page 22

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Recruitment Genius: Mortgage Advisor - OTE £95,000

£40000 - £95000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

competitive: SThree: Are you passionate about sales?Do you have a keen interes...

Recruitment Genius: Loan Adviser - OTE £30,000

£17000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Assistant / Buyer

£15000 - £17000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company offers a range of ...

Day In a Page

Greece debt crisis: EU 'family' needs to forgive rather than punish an impoverished state

EU 'family' needs to forgive rather than punish an impoverished state

An outbreak of malaria in Greece four years ago helps us understand the crisis, says Robert Fisk
Gaza, a year on from Operation Protective Edge: The traumatised kibbutz on Israel's front line, still recovering from last summer's war with Hamas

Gaza, a year on from Operation Protective Edge

The traumatised kibbutz on Israel's front line, still recovering from last summer's war with Hamas
How to survive electrical storms: What are the chances of being hit by lightning?

Heavy weather

What are the chances of being hit by lightning?
World Bodypainting Festival 2015: Bizarre and brilliant photos celebrate 'the body as art'

World Bodypainting Festival 2015

Bizarre and brilliant photos celebrate 'the body as art'
alt-j: A private jet, a Mercury Prize and Latitude headliners

Don't call us nerds

Craig Mclean meets alt-j - the math-folk act who are flying high
How to find gold: The Californian badlands, digging out crevasses and sifting sludge

How to find gold

Steve Boggan finds himself in the Californian badlands, digging out crevasses and sifting sludge
Singing accents: From Herman's Hermits and David Bowie to Alesha Dixon

Not born in the USA

Lay off Alesha Dixon: songs sound better in US accents, even our national anthem
10 best balsamic vinegars

10 best balsamic vinegars

Drizzle it over salad, enjoy it with ciabatta, marinate vegetables, or use it to add depth to a sauce - this versatile staple is a cook's best friend
Wimbledon 2015: Brief glimpses of the old Venus but Williams sisters' epic wars belong to history

Brief glimpses of the old Venus but Williams sisters' epic wars belong to history

Serena dispatched her elder sister 6-4, 6-3 in eight minutes more than an hour
Greece says 'No': A night of huge celebrations in Athens as voters decisively back Tsipras and his anti-austerity stance in historic referendum

Greece referendum

Greeks say 'No' to austerity and plunge Europe into crisis
Ten years after the 7/7 terror attacks, is Britain an altered state?

7/7 bombings anniversary

Ten years after the terror attacks, is Britain an altered state?
Beautiful evening dresses are some of the loveliest Donatella has created

Versace haute couture review

Beautiful evening dresses are some of the loveliest Donatella has ever created
No hope and no jobs, so Gaza's young risk their lives, climb the fence and run for it

No hope and no jobs in Gaza

So the young risk their lives and run for it
Fashion apps: Retailers roll together shopping and social networking for mobile customers

Fashion apps

Retailers roll together shopping and social networking for mobile customers
The Greek referendum exposes a gaping hole at the heart of the European Union – its distinct lack of any genuine popular legitimacy

Gaping hole at the heart of the European Union

Treatment of Greece has shown up a lack of genuine legitimacy