Scottish oil and gas explorer Cairn Energy said yesterday it had completed its £414million takeover of Nautical Petroleum.
Meanwhile, Cairn India and chief executive Rahul Dhir has stepped down to pursue entrepreneurial interests.
Cairn Energy has an 18.3% stake in Cairn India after selling a controlling interest to Vedanta Resources for £3.4billion last year.
The purchase of Nautical was Cairn’s second major acquisition in the North Sea this year.
It saw Cairn offer Nautical shareholders £4.50 per share – a premium of 51.1% on its closing price of 287.8p on the offer day.
The deal came as Cairn is looking to de-risk its portfolio, which had become exposed to its so far unsuccessful exploration off Greenland following the sale of Indian interests earlier this year.
At the time of the offer, Cairn said buying Nautical would give it “a low-risk engine-room for growth”, with near-term drilling and production opportunities to help back the firm’s riskier “transformational exploration” off Greenland, Spain and Cyprus.
The acquisition follows last month’s purchase of Agora Oil and Gas for £280million, which left Cairn with an estimated cash pile of about £630million, a remaining holding in Cairn India valued at £1.6billion and no debts.
Chief executive Simon Thomson said at the time: “This acquisition is another step towards building a balanced portfolio of transformational exploration, appraisal and development assets, and complements our recent acquisition of Agora to help build a platform in north-west Europe.
“Specifically we will increase our equity position in the Catcher area, which contains several oil discoveries, and acquire a material stake in Kraken, another large North Sea oil development. In addition, this acquisition will add a number of North Sea exploration prospects to our existing 2012 and 2013 exploration programme in the UK and Norway.”
The deal sees Cairn’s stake in Catcher, one of the most significant recent discoveries in the North Sea rise by 15% to 30%.
It also provides Cairn with a 25% interest in Kraken and a 6% interest in Statoil’s Mariner oil field.