Malaysia's Petronas sweetens bid for Canada's Progress Energy to $5.12 bn

Malaysia's state oil company Petroliam Nasional Berhad (Petronas) yesterday agreed to raise its bid by 8 per cent for Canadian natural gas producer Progress Energy Resources Corp, in order trump a rival offer.

Without identifying the suitor, Progress said in a statement, "The increase in the consideration resulted from Progress having received an unsolicited proposal from a third party."

In late June, Petronas' Canadian subsidiary, Petronas Carigali Canada Ltd, had offered to buy Progress for C$20.45 per share, a premium of 77 per cent to Progress' closing price of C$11.55 on the Toronto Stock Exchange on 27 June.

The deal valued the Calgary-based company at C$4.8 billion ($4.7 billion) – and about C$5.5 billion ($5.4 billion), including debt.

Petronas has now offered C$22.00 per share, valuing Progress at C$5.17 billion ($5.12 billion), including debt.

Reacting to the revised offer, Progress said the latest offer is in ''the best interests of Progress and is fair to shareholders and debenture holders.''

Early this week, Progress had said that a "multi-national oil company" had been in talks and two bids were rejected even before Petronas submitted its offer in late June. Progress said that it had rejected the bids because they did not adequately value the company.