US concerns over Arco hits BP Amoco shares

BP AMOCO is still confident that its deal to acquire Arco will go ahead, despite reported objections from the Alaskan government and the United States competition authorities, the company said yesterday.

Concerns the deal may run into regulatory problems sent BP shares down 21.5p to 562.5p, making them the FTSE 100's worst performing stock.

Alaska wants to make sure the acquisition of the US oil company, which will give BP Amoco control of 70 per cent of the state's North Slope production, does not adversely affect it, and was angry when it believed that BP Amoco was seeking to cut short negotiations on the terms of the deal.

But BP Amoco said that it is still negotiating in good faith, and that there is no artificial time limit. The spat came after BP Amoco reportedly told the US Federal Trade Commission that it had sent in all the paperwork for the acquisition, triggering a 20-day deadline for the FTC to approve or reject the deal.

Alaska's governor, Tony Knowles, then called on the FTC to block the deal. "We want BP Amoco to stop the clock it started so it can return to the bargaining table and reach a fair and just settlement of Alaska's concerns," he said.

BP Amoco said yesterday that it had no intention of accelerating the process. "The clock has not started," said a spokesman in London.

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