Soco Rises to 14-Month High After Pertamina Bid for Coastal

Soco International Plc (SIA), a U.K. explorer with assets in Vietnam, rose to a 14-month high in London trading after Indonesia’s state-owned oil company offered to buy Coastal Energy Co. (CEN)

PT Pertamina said it submitted a takeover proposal to major shareholders of Coastal, which has assets in Thailand and Malaysia.

Soco rose as much as 4.1 percent to 375 pence, the highest level since September last year, and traded at 365.10 pence as of 1:40 p.m. local time.

State-oil companies in Asia are seeking expansion opportunities to meet their growing domestic energy needs. Soco, whose largest production project is in Vietnam, said output rose 400 percent to an average 13,755 barrels of oil equivalent a day in the first nine months of 2012 from a year ago.

“I certainly know that many of those national companies have been in many data rooms in the very recent past,” Soco’s Chief Financial Officer Roger Cagle said today in a phone interview. “They are hungry for ensuring sovereign supply resources and I am kind of surprised more hasn’t happened on that front.”

He declined to say whether Soco has received any approaches.

“Many people in the analyst community always say that we are the target,” Cagle said. These “proxies for sovereign companies” may face hurdles in overseas expansion and “would prefer to stay close at home.”

In Canada, approval for Cnooc Ltd. (883)’s $15.1 billion bid for Nexen Inc. (NXY) has been delayed, while an offer by Petroliam Nasional Bhd. of Malaysia for Progress Energy Resources Corp. (PRQ) has been blocked.

“We expect the energy supply deficit to deteriorate further” in Asia, Stuart Joyner, an analyst at Investec Securities Ltd. in London, said in an e-mailed report. That provides opportunities for local “explorers as governments recognize the importance of developing domestic resources in addition to securing energy supply on the global stage.”

Salamander Energy Plc (SMDR), which has licenses in Indonesia and Thailand, gained 2.4 percent to 198.40 pence in London.

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