US white knight bids for Brabant

Click to follow
ENERGY Development Corporation, the Texas-based oil and gas company, has emerged as a white knight for Brabant Resources with a pounds 9.6m agreed offer, writes Neil Thapar.

The bidder is offering 58p a share in cash for the North Sea minnow, topping a rival all-paper bid from Aberdeen Petroleum by 11 per cent. The move prompted Aberdeen, which itself became the target of an pounds 8m hostile takeover bid from Pittencrieff, to pull out of the battle.

Aberdeen, which had amassed a 10 per cent stake in Brabant, intends to accept the improved terms from EDC, a subsidiary of New Jersey's largest gas and electricity utility.

The deal represents a major international expansion move by EDC, which already has operations in four countries. However, Brabant would form the core of North Sea operations and its entire staff is being preserved.

EDC said the acquisition would give it 'a significant exposure to the UK which would otherwise have taken considerable time to build up'.

The two have existing trading links. EDC is a partner in a Brabant-operated oil venture in Tunisia and both are part of a consortium applying for new areas under the 14th licensing round.