Market Report: Tullow Oil gains amid bidding war speculation


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The Independent Online

Tullow Oil welled up yesterday amid speculation that it could soon be the target of a bidding war.

Sinochem, one of China’s four state oil companies, is said to be looking at the African-focused oil and gas explorer as a way to access the continent’s energy reserves. Meanwhile, Norwegian major Statoil is also said to be considering an approach, as part of its aggressive international expansion plans.

A possible bid price of £15 a share is being discussed, which is an attractive prospect for investors. The company is trading well below its record April 2012 high of £15.34 after a series of disappointing updates. 

Tullow was one of yesterday’s best performers, adding 32p to 859p.

Consumer-goods giant Reckitt Benckiser was in demand ahead of Wednesday’s bid deadline for Merck’s consumer-healthcare unit. Reckitt is widely thought to be the lead bidder for the division, which makes Claritin allergy medicine. Reckitt, due to report its first-quarter results on Wednesday, added 99p to 4,833p.

Traders were frozen on the spot yesterday, torn between good news in the West and bad news in the East. Citigroup’s forecast-beating results in the US helped sentiment but flaring tensions in Ukraine left investors uneasy about making big bets.

The FTSE 100 closed up 22.06 points at 6583.76.

Low pre-Easter volumes and demand for steady-eddie stocks saw Sainsbury’s shoot up, adding 16.9p to 326.5p.

Glencore Xstrata was 6.3p better at 317.9p thanks to hopes that the $5.85bn (£3.5bn) sale of its Las  Bambas mine in Peru will lead to a bumper payout  for investors.

Fears investor appetite for companies going public could be on the wane were stoked again yesterday, as another new market entrant fell below its float price on debut. Haydale Graphene, which looks for new uses of next-generation material graphene, fell to 192p after floating at 210p.

Fellow Aim company Versarien had better luck with graphene, with a deal to buy an 85 per cent stake in 2-DTech, a company specialising in the material, for £440,000. Versarien added 0.75p to 28.75p.