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United Energy Seeks Assets of at Least $775 Million, CFO Says

Sept. 9 (Bloomberg) -- United Energy Group Ltd., a Hong Kong-based oil and gas explorer, said it aims to acquire assets valued no less than the $775 million it agreed to pay BP Plc for fields in Pakistan.

“We are unwilling to buy anything that’s below the size of the BP assets,” Chief Financial Officer Thomas Pang told reporters in Hong Kong today.

The BP deal in December gave United Energy its first assets in Pakistan as the company controlled by billionaire Zhang Hongwei expands overseas to meet demand in the world’s fastest-growing major economy. The explorer, which owns assets in China and Indonesia, said Dec. 18 it got a $5 billion loan from state-owned China Development Bank Corp. to fund future acquisitions.

With support from China’s biggest overseas lender, United Energy is looking at “a number of very good opportunities” and would pay for assets in cash, Executive Director Leo Kirby said without giving details.

While United Energy’s search is “truly global,” the company will avoid investing in Russia, as well as Iran, Sudan and North Korea, as the three countries face international trade sanctions, Kirby told reporters.

United Energy has fallen 46 percent in Hong Kong trading this year, compared with the 14 percent decline in the benchmark Hang Seng Index. The stock rose 1.2 percent to close at 83 Hong Kong cents today.

To contact the reporter on this story: Guo Aibing in Hong Kong at aguo10@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Amit Prakash at aprakash1@bloomberg.net.

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