Thailand's PTTEP trumps Shell's offer for Cove Energy with $1.9 billion bid

Thailand's state-controlled oil and gas group PTT Exploration and Production (PTTEP) has offered to buy UK-listed Mozambique-focused oil and gas explorer Cove Energy, for £1.22 billion ($1.9 billion), trumping a $1.8 billion bid from Europe's largest oil and gas company Royal Dutch Shell.

The offer came just a day after Cove management yesterday urged its shareholder investors to accept Shell's bid ahead of today's deadline for accepting the bid.

"The board is mindful that, to date, Shell Bidco is the only firm bidder and that Shell Bidco has already secured the consent of the government of Mozambique," Cove had said in a statement on Monday.

The board of Cove Energy has now withdrawn its support for Shell's 220 pence offer and is recommending PTT, which has said it will pay 240 pence per share, 20 pence more than Shell offered in April.

''The bid from PTTEP represents significant value for shareholders and confirms the world class nature of Cove's East African assets,'' John Craven, CEO of Cove Energy, said in a statement.

The counter offer from PTT comes after Cove Energy had early this month said that it found even more gas on its fields in Mozambique, a disclosure that could have stoked a bid battle for the company.