Centrica handed Venture ultimatum

Britain’s Takeover Panel Executive has imposed a deadline on Centrica concerning its intentions towards Venture Production.

Offshore staff

ABERDEEN -- Britain’s Takeover Panel Executive has imposed a deadline on Centrica concerning its intentions towards Venture Production.

By 5 p.m. on July 13, unless the Executive rules otherwise, Centrica must either announce a firm intention to bid for Venture, or declare that it does not intend to make an offer.

If Centrica decides on the second option, it will be bound by the restrictions of Britain’s Takeover Code to take no further action for six months.

Venture’s chairman and chief executive had met their counterparts in Centrica to discuss their strategy, but no firm offer was made. This followed Centrica’s recent acquisition of shares in the Aberdeen-based independent.

Venture believes the ruling is in the interest of the company and its shareholders, as it brings to an end a period of prolonged uncertainty.

For the first five months of this year, the company has averaged daily production from its UK production interests of 53,400 boe, up 17% from the same period in 2008. At the end of March its proven and probable reserves totalled 240 MMboe, a 12% increase on the corresponding figure in March 2008.

The board added that Venture remained committed to maintaining its position as one of the largest independent producers of oil and gas in the North Sea, and bringing further undeveloped or stranded fields into production.

06/17/2009

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