NE Scotland, Orkney & Shetland

Oil and gas firm Delek agrees Ithaca Energy takeover

Oil platform Image copyright Ithaca Energy
Image caption Ithaca Energy has its headquarters in Scotland and is listed on the Toronto stock exchange

An Israeli energy firm has secured a major stake in North Sea oil and gas, with the takeover of an Aberdeen-based company.

Delek has announced an agreed takeover of Ithaca Energy, headquartered in Scotland while listed on the Toronto stock exchange.

The target firm's activities are focussed in the UK offshore sector.

The deal values its equity at £518m. Including debt, the deal is worth close to £1bn.

Ithaca has been investing in the Stella field, in the central North Sea, in which it has a 55% stake.

Its announcement of the agreed takeover came with confirmation that production from that field is due to start this month, following remedial work on its electrics.

The offer, at Canadian $1.95 per share, is 12% higher than the closing price of Ithaca shares on Friday 3 February. Its share price has risen significantly in the past two months. It rose a further 10% following the announcement.

Brad Hurtubise, non-executive chairman of Ithaca, said the offer secured "premium cash value following a sustained period of share price growth at a favourable point in the company's evolution".

Delek Group already owned a 20% stake in Ithaca Energy, buying it in 2015.

Headquartered in Herzeliya, it describes itself as Israel's "dominant integrated energy company and the pioneering leader of the natural gas exploration and production activities that are transforming the Eastern Mediterranean's Levant Basin into one of the energy industry's most promising emerging regions".

The company was behind two major Mediterranean gas finds, Tamar and Leviathan, and it is now buying a portfolio of assets across exploration, development and production.

Delek is the biggest shareholder in Faroe Petroleum, based in Aberdeen, with a 13% stake. Faroe is also focussed on exploration and development in the UK and Norwegian North Sea.

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