IGas AGM backs Dart acquisition

Licence aims: Francis Gugen's IGas Energy looks to UK round

UK-listed IGas Energy moved a step closer to completing its $198 million acquisition of Australia’s Dart Energy after IGas shareholders backed the deal at the explorer’s annual general meeting.

The deal supported by both boards would create the largest licence holder in UK onshore, including a sizeable portfolio of shale exploration blocks.

Dart Energy shareholders are to cast their ballots on 10 September.

The Dart Energy vote was delayed on Friday after the company’s appointed independent expert Deloitte reduced its view of the deal from fair to reasonable because of recent falls in Igas Energy stock, although the change is not expected to affect the deal’s completion.

ASX-listed Dart Energy's shareholders will get 0.08117 IGas Energy shares for each of their stock, or a 40% premium on their Dart shares’ value at the deal’s announcement, and ultimately own around 30.5% of the enlarged Igas Energy.

Shareholders representing 30.5% of Dart Energy’s share capital, including New Hope Corporation holding 16.3%, have agreed to back the deal.

Dart’s non-core shale and coal-bed methane licences in Australia, Germany, Belgium, Indonesia and India are all expected to be put up for sale after the acquisition.

IGas Energy chairman Francis Gugen said meanwhile that the explorer planned to be “active in bidding for various blocks” in the 14th landward licensing round, which opened recently and closes on 28 October.

“Our wealth of background data and operator status means we are well placed to participate and we are in discussions with partners in respect of a number of blocks,” he said.

Gugen also said the company was finalising plans for a new 3D seismic survey on its north-western English acreage to begin in the Autumn, and that IGas Energy still aims to spud its vertical Ellesmere Port coal-bed methane and shale probe by the end of the year.

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