OVL, GAIL to jointly bid for UK's Cove Energy: report

ONGC Videsh Ltd (OVL), the overseas arm of state-owned ONGC, and GAIL are planning to jointly bid for Cove Energy plc, a AIM-listed upstream oil and gas company focused on East Africa, in a deal valued over Rs6,000 crore ($1.2 billion). Citing unnamed sources, The Times of India today reported.

London-based Cove Energy, which was formerly known as Lapp Plats plc and changed its name to Cove Energy in July 2009, had hired Standard Chartered Bank and Cenkos Securities Plc for selling itself and last month opened a data room for interested bidders.

Cove Energy last week informed the UK Takeover Panel of its decision and said in a statement, "The Directors have decided to conduct a formal sale process for the entire issued and to be issued share capital of the Company, running alongside other strategic options, including a transaction involving the sale of the Rovuma Area 1 Interest, in line with the Company's stated strategy."

The explorer, which has a market capitalisation of around $960 million, has interests in oil and gas blocks in onshore and offshore Mozambique, offshore Kenya, and onshore and offshore Tanzania.

BlackRock, the world's largest asset manager, holds a 7.6-per cent stake in Cove Energy.