BASF, LetterOne Sign Letter of Intent to Merge Oil-and-Gas Arms

By Nathan Allen Features Dow Jones Newswires

Germany's BASF SE (BAS.XE) said Thursday that it has signed a letter of intent with LetterOne Group to merge their respective oil-and-gas subsidiaries, Wintershall AG and DEA.

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The new venture will be one of Europe's largest independent exploration and production companies, according to BASF, which envisages a public listing in the medium term.

BASF would initially retain 67% of the shares in the merged entity--which would operate under the name Wintershall DEA--while LetterOne would control the remaining 33%. However, BASF said that it plans to increase its shareholding to reflect the value of Wintershall's gas-transportation business, which is not accounted for in the initial ratio.

The chemicals company said that it would appoint the entity's chief executive officer, with LetterOne naming its deputy, and that the business would be based in the German cities of Kassel and Hamburg.

The deal should close in the second half of 2018, pending regulatory approval, BASF said.

In 2016, the combined business would have had pro-forma sales of 4.3 billion euros ($5.06 billion), and net income of EUR326 million. Total production would have been 590,000 barrels of oil equivalent a day, according to BASF.

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LetterOne is a private Luxembourg-based investment vehicle controlled by Russian magnate Mikhail Fridman. It acquired DEA in March 2015 from RWE AG (RWE.XE).

Write to Nathan Allen at nathan.allen@dowjones.com

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

December 08, 2017 02:34 ET (07:34 GMT)