Finance/Companies news briefs, Apr. 27

Wintershall AG will buy a 35% share of Shell Petroleum NV�s exploration block BM-C-10 in the deepwater Campos basin off Brazil.Shell Brazil is operator of the 2,364 sq km block with a 65% interest.

Husky Energy Inc., Calgary, acquired 97.7% of the outstanding shares of Titanium Oil & Gas Ltd. The total cost was $27 million (Can.). Husky intends to acquire the rest of the company under compulsory acquisition provisions. The deal will bring Husky 2,200 boe/d of production and 5.6 million boe of reserves, plus 3,000 net hectares of undeveloped land.

KCA Drilling Ltd., Abbot Group PLC's North Sea drilling arm, plans to open an operations and marketing base in Houston, the British energy service company said Friday. The move, part of KCA's broader international business development strategy, is being made to manage a number of "live project opportunities" in the US Gulf of Mexico.

Norwegian contract Aker Maritime AS has sold 9.5 million "surplus" Kværner AS shares in which it had a purchase option in keeping with an deal agreed with the European Commission last December. Under the agreement with the EC, Aker consented not to exercise its shareholders rights with respect to its 19 million Kværner shares before the surplus were sold.

Indian company Reliance Petroleum Ltd., part of the Reliance Industries group, has ask the government for permission to launch an issue of American depository receipts and global depository receipts. The issue is part of Reliance Industries' plans to divest 13% of its equity stake in the subsidiary. Reliance Petroleum may list on the Luxembourg bourse, the New York Stock Exchange, or both.

Hydralift ASA, Kristiansand, Norway, has agreed to acquire Brissoneau & Lotz Marine SA, Nantes, France, and its sister company BOPP SA, Brest, France, from Friede & Goldman Halter Inc., subject to approval of the US Southern District Court. The purchase price is $33.5 million. Friede & Goldman, of Gulfport, Miss., filed Chapter 11 bankruptcy earlier this month (OGJ Online, Apr. 20, 2001).

BP France is restructuring its retail heating fuel oil business in France because of losses exceeding 300 million francs over the last 5 years. BP's Fuel Services unit has a wide coverage in France, but competition is very strong. It is planning to sell 60% of its 2.5 billion franc business in regions of France where its coverage is not so extensive. The remaining 40% will be handled through a management buyout.

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