Tuesday, November 11, 2008

ONGC to make offer to acquire Imperial in 28 days

Armed with all regulatory approvals from the Russian authorities, ONGC Videsh Ltd — the foreign arm of state-run Oil & Natural

Gas Corporation (ONGC) — is all set to make a "firm" offer to Imperial En-ergy's shareholders in the next 28 days. The Russian government paved way for the $2.58 billion acquisition on Tuesday, after it allowed OVL to own a company that holds oil and gas assets in Russia.

Accord-ing to the Russian law, a foreign government-owned company requires approval of the Russian authority before acquiring a ownership stake in a Russian entity. On Monday, the Russian Federal Anti-Monopoly Service (FAS) had already given OVL a clean chit from anti-monopoly regulations, the other mandatory pre-condition for making a formal offer.

"With this approval , OVL has fulfilled the both pre-conditions for making a formal offer. We have already informed the London Stock Exchange (LSE). We will post the offer (to the Imperial shareholders) within 28 days, from now," a senior official in the government, who didn't wish to be identified, told ET .

On September 5 this year, the company had announced that it had sought the Russian government's approval regarding the two manda-tory pre-conditions required to be met before making a formal acquisi-tion offer. While the first pre-conditions was related to the approval by the governmental commission of the Russian Federation with respect to restrictions on the ownership of a Russian entity by entities con-trolled by a foreign government. The other was related to the anti-monopoly regulations.

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