Dragon Oil shareholders reject Dubai takeover bid

13 December 2009

Emirates National Oil Company valued the oil and gas company at $3.9bn

Shareholders of Dublin and London-listed oil exploration and production firm Dragon Oil have voted against a proposed takeover by Dubai’s state-owned Emirates National Oil Company (Enoc).

Enoc said it would offer 455 pence ($7.5) per share for the 48.5 per cent of the company that it does not already own on 3 June and formally bid for the stake on 2 November. The $1.8bn bid valued the entire company at $3.9bn.

Dragon Oil said in an 11 December statement that minority shareholders had voted to reject the bid at an extraordinary general meeting held on the same day. Enoc was not allowed to attend the meeting or vote on the acquisition.

Enoc was not available for comment on the decision on 13 December and a Dragon Oil spokeswoman tells MEED that the decision is not a reflection of the company’s views on the deal.

“The vote was for minority shareholders,” says Anna Gavrilova. “One of the minor shareholders [the UK’s] Baillie Gifford issued a statement in autumn saying that they would not accept the shareholding as did [France’s] Carmignac Gestion.”

In a 10 November statement Baillie Gifford said that the offer “materially understates the fundamental and strategic value of the company”. Carmignac Gestion issued a similar statement on 16 November.

In a 3 November analyst’s note Peter Hutton at Dublin-listed brokerage NCB said that the 455 pence per share would create an “overly generous” internal rate of return for Enoc. NCB values the company at 855 pence per share on the basis of a long-term oil price of $85 a barrel and existing cash holdings of $900m.

Dragon Oil currently holds around 296 million barrels in oil reserves through its oil and gas concessions in Turkmenistan. The company made a net profit of $369m in 2008.

Enoc said in earlier statements that the Dubai debt crisis would not affect the deal because it had already secured financing from the UK’s Standard Chartered Bank and the local National Bank of Dubai.

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