Finance/Companies news briefs, May 25

ExxonMobil ... Thyssengas ... RWE Energie ... Maxx Petroleum � Nigeria's National Electric Power Authority � Marubeni Engineering � NYMEX � Providence Energy � Southern Union � Montana Power � Schlumberger Resource Management Services... CellNet Data Systems ... Northern States Power Co. ... Titan Exploration ... Unocal ... Onako ... Rosneft ... Slavneft


ExxonMobil Corp. has agreed to sell its 25% shareholding in Germany-based Thyssengas GMBH to RWE Energie AG, a subsidiary of the German company RWE AG. ExxonMobil holds the interest through subsidiary Esso Deutschland GMBH. The sale is subject to approval by the European Commission under the terms of the commission's approval of the Exxon Corp.-Mobil Corp. merger. The sale brings RWE's interest in Thyssengas to 75%. Royal Dutch/Shell Group's Shell Petroleum NV unit owns the remaining 25%. Thyssengas is a major gas transmission, distribution, and storage company operating in the German states of North Rhine and Westphalia. Its business accounts for about 7% of all gas sales in Germany.

Maxx Petroleum Ltd., Calgary, says it is looking at a number of options to increase shareholder value, including possible sale of the company. The company has formed a special committee of its board to examine options. Maxx has production of 8,550 boe/d, 80% of which is oil, with substantial heavy crude production in the Lloydminster region on the Alberta-Saskatchewan border. It also produces light crude in Saskatchewan and is involved in deep gas exploration in Alberta. The company has a market value of about $83 million (Can.) and net debt of $62 million. Maxx expects to increase production to 10,000 boe/d by yearend.

Nigeria's National Electric Power Authority has signed a $50 million contract with Marubeni Engineering, a unit of Japan's Marubeni Corp., to repair a steam turbine at the Egbin power station in Lagos, the first of a series of repairs to be performed at the ailing plant, government sources said this week. The Federal Executive Council recently approved $75 million for the rehabilitation of three gas turbine units at Egbin. Built at a cost of $50 million and put into operation in 1986, the Egbin station has six units of 220 Mw each, but the power station has performed below capacity due to damaged generating units. NEPA spokesman Malam Muhammed Mousa-Booth said agreements to repair Units 4 and 6 would be signed soon. He also said the repairs are expected to restore 660 Mw to the national grid to help to meet the nation�s electricity demand.

The New York Mercantile Exchange set a daily volume record May 18, with 43,688 natural gas options contracts traded, surpassing the previous record of 43,534 contracts traded on Jan. 31, 2000. It then exceeded the record again on May 22, when 52,625 natural gas options contracts were traded. Exchange Pres. R. Patrick Thompson said, "These consecutive records stand as testimony to the continued use of our contracts as tools for risk management and price discovery in the global marketplace."

About 95% of voting shareholders of Providence Energy Corp., Providence, RI, approved its $400 million merger with Southern Union Co., Austin, in a special shareholder meeting May 22.The proposed merger with Providence Energy was announced Nov. 15, 1999, and is expected to close in late summer. Providence shareholders will be paid $42.50/share. The firm is a distributor and marketer of natural gas, heating oil, and petroleum products and a retail marketer of electricity and energy services. Southern Union is an international energy distribution company serving more than 1.2 million customers in Texas, Missouri, Pennsylvania, Florida, and Mexico.

Montana Power Co., Butte, Mont., reports the successful completion of its cash tender offers for five issues of its debt securities. As of the Tuesday expiration date, $182.673 million of the $190 million in principal amount of outstanding securities had been tendered and not withdrawn. The tender offers were made pursuant to an offer to purchase made Apr. 25. Banc of America Securities LLC acted as the dealer manager for the tender offers.

Titan Exploration Inc. says its shareholders overwhelmingly approved its merger with the Permian basin business unit of Unocal Corp. to form Pure Resources Inc. The Company anticipates final closing of the transaction with Unocal May 25. Titan Chairman Jack Hightower said, "This merger creates a larger, better capitalized company which will allow us to more aggressively pursue our exploration and development drilling portfolio, as well as consolidation opportunities that exist in our industry. In addition, by combining the two organizations, we will recognize significant operational and administrative cost synergies." Pure Resources Inc. will be headquartered in Midland, Tex. Upon closing of the transaction, Titan shareholders will receive 0.4302314 shares of Pure Resources stock for each share of Titan. Titan shareholders will own 34.6% of Pure Resources' 50 million outstanding shares, and Unocal will own 65.4%. Cash will be distributed in lieu of fractional shares.

Schlumberger Resource Management Services Inc. (RMS) has acquired all the assets of CellNet Data Systems Inc., a market-leading provider of telemetry services, for $235 million, including certain liabilities. Schlumberger said the deal was done through a prearranged Chapter 11 bankruptcy filing by CellNet in February 2000. The acquisition closed May 16, following final approval May 5 of the US Bankruptcy Court in Delaware. CellNet is a leading provider of low-cost telemetry services, which support the ability to transmit and receive data for the remote monitoring and control of utility metering devices. The day after the acquisition was announced, the new owner revealed it had expanded CellNet's service agreement with Minnesota's Northern States Power Co. (NSP) to cover an additional 850,000 gas and electric meters.

Mikhail Kasyanov, Russia's acting prime minister, said at a recent cabinet meeting that he wants to see the question of whether to establish a state-controlled oil holding company by the end of May or the beginning of June. If the government decides not to set up the holding company by merging its stakes in Onako, Rosneft, and Slavneft, it should move ahead with plans for privatization of these companies, Kasyanov said. Officials in Moscow have said they want to sell 25% plus one share in Rosneft, 19.68% of Slavneft, and 80% of Onako this year.

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