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Drillers snub Centrica bid.

NORTH Sea drilling firm Venture Production yesterday rejected a pounds 1.3billion takeover bid from Centrica.

Two key shareholders pressed for a higher offer, saying the gas distributor "substantially undervalues" the firm's future prospects.

Centrica made the offer after raising their shareholding in the company to 29 per cent.

They want to buy the company to boost gas production and reduce their dependence on volatile wholesale markets.

Venture knocked back a bid of 845 pence per share.

Two of Venture's leading shareholders - company founder Larry Kinch and ArcLight Capital Partners of Boston - pressed for a bid of 1000 pence a share.

Venture claimed they have proven gas reserves of around 1.1 trillion cubic feet.

And they said they are the only top 10 producer whose production is forecast to rise over the next three years.

Centrica pointed out that British gas prices have fallen more than 50 per cent this year and, unlike oil prices, have not improved over the past few months.
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Title Annotation:Business
Publication:Daily Record (Glasgow, Scotland)
Date:Jul 14, 2009
Words:164
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