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Maurel et Prom CEO dismisses Shell takeover report

Thu Jun 14, 2012 5:23am EDT

* CEO says has not been contacted by Shell

* Shares in Maurel et Prom drop 7.5 pct

(Reuters) – The head of French oil producer Maurel et Prom dismissed speculation that Anglo-Dutch oil group Royal Dutch Shell had approached it about a possible takeover, sending its shares around 7.5 percent lower on Thursday.

The stock had risen more than 20 percent on Wednesday after The Daily Mail newspaper, without citing sources, said the company had turned down a friendly approach from U.S. explorer Anadarko Petroleum and drawn interest from Shell.

Maurel et Prom could receive a bid of more than 19 euros a share, the paper said.

“A British newspaper is talking about a possible public takeover offer for us … we have never been contacted by these people,” Maurel et Prom Chief Executive Jean-Francois Henin told shareholders at the company’s annual general meeting.

“At least it has had one advantage – it has stopped the irrational decline of the stock and has put it back to a more normal valuation,” said Henin, who owns a stake of nearly 24 percent in the company through Pacifico holding.

Shares in Maurel et Prom had steadily slid 28 percent over a period of 3 1/2 months up until the Daily Mail report, more than twice the drop on the European oil and gas stock index. The shares were trading around 11.40 euros by 0905 GMT.

Henin has said he was open to selling the company at the right price and provided certain conditions were met.

Maurel et Prom has regularly been subject to takeover talk, fanned by the spin-off of its Nigerian assets into Maurel & Prom Nigeria in December. State-run Oil India has said it is interested in buying a stake in Maurel’s assets in Gabon.

Maurel et Prom, which last year made a net profit of 165 million euros ($207 million) on revenue of 374 million, has assets in Colombia, Gabon, Tanzania and Mozambique.

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