Two UK shale gas operators have joined forces to create the UK’s biggest shale gas outfit. IGas agreed to buy Dart Energy through a premium-priced, recommended share-based deal worth £117.1mln. Together the firms have over 1mln acres in Britain’s major shale basins.
“Success in the oil and gas business comes from scale, and the combination of Dart and IGas achieves that scale, creating a clear market leader with a vastly greater depth in terms of asset base, access to capital and operating capability, all of which will be critical to achieving long-term success.” said John McGoldrick, chief executive of the Australian-registered Dart Energy.
“This transaction puts IGas at the heart of unlocking Britain’s energy potential,” added IGas Chief Executive Andrew Austin. “The transaction further strengthens our position financially, operationally and also significantly increases our licensed acreage as we seek to unlock the untapped energy resource that exists in Britain.”
Dart shareholders, who were set to access the London market with an AIM float this month, will hold around 30% of the merged company. Investors will receive 0.08117 IGas shares for each Dart share they own, which equates to 18.98 Australian cents per share and is a premium of around 51% to Friday’s close on the ASX.
London-based IGas Energy is an independent oil and gas exploration and production company, predominantly specialising in extracting coal-bed methane. During 2013 and 2014, IGas has been carrying out exploratory work for coal-bed methane at Barton Moss between Irlam and Peel Green in Salford, Greater Manchester.
Dart Energy is an international exploration and production company in the unconventional gas industry – natural gas extracted from coal beds and shale. In the UK, Dart Energy holds licenses for exploration in the Bowland Shale, an area also explored by iGas and Cuadrilla. Following the takeover, IGas announced that it plans to sell Dart’s non-UK assets – including licence interests in Australia, Germany, Belgium, Indonesia and India.
Dart will also cancel its listing on London Alternative Investment Market (AIM), which had been scheduled for May 12.
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