Oil trader Vitol drops plans to buy Sterling Resources

Mon May 13, 2013 1:06pm EDT
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* Purchase would have given it access to North Sea gas

* Sterling said Vitol's C$192 mln offer was too low

* Sterling shareholders propose new Chairman

By Emma Farge

GENEVA, May 13 (Reuters) - Swiss trading house Vitol has dropped plans to bid for Canada-listed oil and gas producer Sterling Resources, Sterling said on Monday, after talks stalled over price.

Vitol, which is also a Sterling shareholder, said in February it would offer C$192 million ($190 million) for Sterling, giving it a foothold in the North Sea oil and gas sector.

Many large commodity trading houses have sought to secure physical assets such as oilfields or aluminium smelters as part of a bid to extend their control over supply chains.

"Vitol never made a final bid. The fact that they did not leaves it in abeyance," Sterling Chief Executive Mike Azancot told Reuters via telephone on Monday.

Vitol declined to comment on the reasons for abandoning its takeover plans. Last month, Vitol said that it had not proceeded with an offer because Sterling had not provided an independent valuation of the company.   Continued...