Progress denies Petronas talks as shares jump
CALGARY, Alberta (Reuters) - Shares in Progress Energy Resources Corp (PRQ.TO: Quote) rose as much as 13 percent on Monday after a news story said that its Malaysian joint-venture partner Petronas PETR.UL was mulling a $5 billion acquisition of a Canadian natural-gas producer, though Progress said it was not engaged in any talks.
Progress shares were up 70 Canadian cents to C$10.70 by midafternoon on Monday after earlier touching C$11.31. Volume was nearly 2.7 million, close to four times more than the 90-day average.
In an interview with Bloomberg news, Shamsul Azhar Abbas, chief executive of Malaysia's state oil company, said Petronas is studying plans for a Canadian gas asset acquisition that may exceed $5 billion and that a deal could be announced within three months.
Last year Petronas paid C$1.07 billion ($1.08 billion) for a half interest in shale-gas fields owned by Progress and the two pledged to study the feasibility of exporting liquefied natural gas to Asian markets.
However Progress said its talks with Petronas have been limited to the joint venture and no discussions over an acquisition have taken place.
"Progress is aware of a news story carried on Bloomberg on April 2, 2012 whereby its joint venture partner, Petronas, has indicated plans to make a Canadian acquisition," the company said in a news release issued at the request of market regulators.
"Progress is not currently in discussions with Petronas regarding any business transactions outside of its joint venture relations."
($1 = $0.99 Canadian)
(Reporting by Scott Haggett; Editing by Jeffrey Hodgson)
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