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Fletcher Energy's suitor makes a move

By Ben Dutton

Monday 21st August 2000

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Shell Exploration Company BV has lodged an application with the Commerce Commission to acquire the New Zealand operations of Fletcher Challenge Energy.

Michael Andrews, the CEO of Fletcher Challenge, said that the application should be seen as a very preliminary step in a long process. In the application, Shell has proposed that it will divest a range of assets currently owned by Fletcher Energy.

These assets and shares are Fletcher Energy's involvement and equity interests in the Kupe natural gas field, Kapuni Gas Contracts, Fletcher Challenge Gas Investments, Challenge Petroleum and NZ Refining.

The Commerce Commission has ten working days to make its decision - barring any extensions of time an announcement is expected on 01/09/2000.

Clearance by the Commerce Commission is an obvious and necessary pre-condition to any potential purchase of Fletcher Energy, Mr Andrews said.

Commerce Commission Chair John Belgrave said that the Commission will investigate what impact the proposed acquisition would have on competition in a range of NZ energy related markets.

No other details were given, leaving shareholders guessing as to the potential price of any acquisition.

Fletcher Energy's shares were up after the announcement, reaching a high of $7.95.

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