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MRL launches bid to acquire Australian oil and gas firm AWE

Mining infrastructure provider Mineral Resources (MRL) has proposed to acquire AWE, an Australian oil and gas exploration and production company for A$484m ($364m) in a share-exchange deal.

The offer from the Australia-based MRL is higher than last week’s revised takeover offer of A$463m ($347.94m) to AWE from China Energy Reserve and Chemicals Group (CERCG), a state-owned firm in China.

AWE has stated that its board will assess the merger offer from MRL and also the takeover proposal from CERCG’s Australian subsidiary.

MRL says that the acquisition of AWE aligns with its renewable energy strategy of gaining gas assets to vertically integrate its energy supply chain. This would include the use of LNG-fueled power plants to deliver power solutions to a broader range of end users.

The company, in a statement, said: “MRL does not currently intend to sell any gas from AWE’s Waitsia Gas Project offshore as it is committed to supplying domestic gas in Australia and is a large consumer of domestic gas in its own right, with such consumption to grow considerably as MRL’s previously announced processing and infrastructure projects come on line.”

As per the MRL offer, shareholders of AWE will get one share of the former for every 22.325 ordinary shares they hold in the oil and gas firm. The exchange ratio comes to A$0.80 ($0.60) per AWE share.

In the combined company, AWE shareholders will own around 13.1% of stake after the completion of the merger of Mineral Resources and AWE.

Founded in 1997, AWE, which is headquartered in Sydney, is focused on upstream oil and gas opportunities. The company currently has production, development and exploration assets across Australia, New Zealand and Indonesia.