Royal Dutch Shell Group .com Rotating Header Image

Shell plots $1.2bn Regal takeover bid

Daily Telegraph

Royal Dutch Shell, Europe’s largest energy company, has proposed a $1.2bn (£600m) takeover of Regal Petroleum, the oil and gas explorer trying to recover from a controversial past under former chief executive Frank Timis.

By Russell Hotten 
Royal Dutch Shell has proposed a $1.2bn takeover of the oil and gas explorer Regal Petroleum

Shell’s proposal is worth 300p a sharePhoto: GETTY

Shell, which faced an embarrassing rejection when it tried to reach a deal with Regal last year, is understood to have written to the company’s chairman, Keith Henry, within the last few days.

The proposal, worth 300p a share, is a huge premium to Regal’s closing price yesterday of 83p. But Shell’s interest is likely to put Regal at the centre of a bid battle. It is thought that a number of companies have approached Regal in the past two months, including Russia’s Lukoil and Gaz de France. According to a source, Shell has asked Mr Henry that the two sides try to reach a deal by October 20.

A takeover would mean a £180m-plus fortune for Frank Timis, Regal’s founder and 15pc-shareholder who ran the company when it nearly went bust in 2005. Twice convicted of possessing heroin, Mr Timis faced investor anger in 2005 when exploration in Greece found far less oil and gas than promised, prompting a collapse in the company’s share price. He now runs African Minerals, a mining company based in Sierra Leone.

Anglo-Dutch Shell wants to get its hands on Regal’s gas assets in Ukraine, although the company also has operations in Romania and Egypt. Shell, like the world’s major independent oil companies, is in a desperate hunt to replace reserves. Regal’s Ukraine discovery contains about 170m barrels of oil equivalent, but could hold at least this much again.

Last November Shell agreed a deal to acquire 51pc of Regal Ukraine gasfields for about £200m. However, the day after the deal was announced, Regal unexpectedly replaced its chief executive John Ritson, and chairman, Francesco Scolaro, with David Greer, a former Shell executive who had run the Anglo-Dutch company’s operations in Sakhalin, east Russia.

Mr Greer resigned from Shell earlier this year after writing a motivational e-mail to staff that was later leaked to the media and widely ridiculed. Mr Greer and Shell say the departure had nothing to do with the email. On joining Regal, Mr Greer is thought to have raised questions about Shell’s offer, believing it significantly undervalued the assets.

Since taking over at Regal, Mr Greer has turned the company around and restored its credibility in the City. He has always insisted Regal has huge potential in Ukraine and that the Regal share price has been overshadowed by the company’s controversial history. He said earlier this year that Regal would be run as an independent company unless there was a bid that fully reflected the company’s worth.

Shell and Regal declined to comment.

This website and sisters,,,, and, are owned by John Donovan. There is also a Wikipedia segment.

Comments are closed.