Mitsui plans unconditional offer for AWE

Mitsui plans unconditional offer for AWE

MitsuiplansunconditionalofferforAWEAWE's most valuable asset is the Waitsia gas field in the Perth basin.Tayler NealeTayler Neale Tayler Neale

Mitsui & Co has announced its $602 million takeover offer for AWE will be unconditional if the Japanese company acquires more than a 50 per cent stake before March 14.

Mitsui made its bid of 95 cents per share in January and has received a unanimous recommendation from AWE’s board.

The Japanese company has so far acquired a 3 per cent stake in AWE

In a statement to the ASX, Mitsui said its offer was now the only one available to shareholders.

「By 14 March, the offer will have been open for acceptance for over a month, providing ample time for AWE shareholders to assess the merits of the offer and for any other party to make a competing offer,」 Mitsui said

「No competing offer has been announced to date.

「Mitsui also notes the Waitsia gas project is at an important juncture in its development and believes it is in the best interests of all stakeholders that the offer is completed as soon as possible.」

The company said if the offer becomes unconditional it would accelerate payment terms to AWE shareholders.

Activist shareholder James Dunphy believes AWE is worth $1.10 per share and has asked shareholders to disregard the board’s recommendation.

Mr Dunphy believes Mitsui could be willing to pay more the oil and gas company.

AWE has fielded fielded three takeover offers since November, one each from CERCG Australia, Mineral Resources and Mitsui.

Prior to the Mitsui bid, AWE had entered into a scheme implementation deed with Mineral Resources, after receiving and recommending a proposal of 83 cents per share, in the absence of a superior offer.

AWE is the operator and 50 per cent owner of the Waitsia gas field, which is considered the largest onshore gas discovery in Australia in the past 40 years.