Neptune tables $3.9-bn binding offer for Engie's exploration and production business

UK-based Neptune Oil & Gas, run by the former Centrica chief executive, yesterday tabled a firm and binding offer to buy a majority stake in French utility Engie's exploration and production business for $3.9 billion.

Neptune Oil & Gas was set up in 2015 by former Centrica boss Sam Laidlaw with the aim of acquiring oil and gas exploration & production, midstream, and refining and marketing assets in Europe, Africa, Latin America and Asia.

The London-based company received $5 billion funding from private equity firms Carlyle Group and CVC Capital Partners, and Chinese sovereign wealth fund China Investment Corporation.

Engie said in a statement it had received a firm and binding offer from Neptune for its 70-per cent stake in its Exploration & Production International (EPI) based on a total valuation of €4.7 billion s ($5.11 billion), which includes €1.1 billion of decommissioning liabilities.

The proposed acquisition is expected to translate into a €2.4 billion reduction in Engie's consolidated net financial debt at closing.

As part of the proposed deal, Engie will retain a 30-per cent stake in the Touat project in Algeria, which is currently in the development phase.

EPI is headquartered in France and has upstream oil and gas interests in the UK, Norway, Germany, the Netherlands, Indonesia, Algeria and Egypt.

As of 31 December 2016, EPI employed around 1,600 people and had booked 2P reserves of 672 million barrels of oil equivalent (mmboe) and its equity production was 148 thousand barrels of oil equivalent (kboe) per day in 2016.

Listed on the Paris and Brussels stock exchanges, Engie acquires and develops power, natural gas, and energy assets globally.

It employs around 153,090 people worldwide and generated revenues of €66.6 billion in 2016.