GDF’s Mestrallet Says He Made No Offer for Talisman EnergyTara Patel
GDF Suez SA Chief Executive Officer Gerard Mestrallet said he hadn’t bid to buy Canadian oil and gas producer Talisman Energy Inc.
“I clearly deny having made an offer for company T,” Mestrallet said at a press conference in Paris, referring to a Reuters report that GDF made an approach for Talisman last year. “We have no large acquisition project on the table. We don’t need one.”
GDF Suez, France’s former natural-gas monopoly, can meet plans to expand outside Europe through organic growth and occasional “medium-sized” acquisitions, Mestrallet told reporters at a press conference in Paris today. The CEO has invested in countries including Morocco, South Africa and Mongolia to compensate for stagnant energy demand in Europe.
“CEO denied it: good,” equities analysts at UBS AG said in a note to clients this morning. A “ sharp rise in upstream ‘‘sharp rise in upstream exposure could de-rate GDF.’’
The company fell as much as 3 percent to 16.91 euros a share in Paris trading. It pared losses after Mestrallet’s comments on Talisman and traded at 17.06 euros at 4:28 p.m. local time.
Talisman fell as much as 1.7 percent to C$12.61 in Toronto.
‘‘The strategy of GDF Suez is to develop mostly through organic growth, from time to time with small or medium-sized acquisitions,’’ Mestrallet said, citing last year’s purchase of a facility-management business from Balfour Beatty.
The utility will focus its exploration activities on Northern Europe, including offshore U.K. and Norway, in the Middle East, such as Qatar, and in Asia, especially in Indonesia, he said.
The European market, where GDF has shut 10,000 megawatts of gas-fired plants, remains ‘‘extremely difficult,’’ Mestrallet said, calling on European Union to ‘‘strengthen’’ the carbon emissions market.
The Paris-based company has no plans for an initial public offering of energy-services unit Cofely, Mestrallet said. The business employs 12,500 people and had sales of 2.6 billion euros in 2012.
GDF, which has made ‘‘spectacular’’ progress reducing debt, wants to keep the A rating from credit agencies, Mestrallet said. The company’s net capital spending including acquisitions last year was in the targeted range of 7 billion euros ($9.5 billion) to 8 billion euros, he said.
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