Beach, Questus in Final Bidding for Australia's Lattice

  • Consortium of Senex Energy, Fosun drops out of process
  • Origin Energy expected to receive binding offers by September

Beach Energy Ltd. is competing with a Questus Energy Pty consortium in the final bidding for Origin Energy Ltd.’s conventional oil and gas assets, which could fetch as much as A$1.5 billion ($1.2 billion), people with knowledge of the matter said.

Questus, which is partnering with Intermediate Capital Group Plc, and Beach are among parties studying more detailed information ahead of binding offers for Origin’s Lattice Energy Ltd. unit, the people said. Other bidders, including a consortium of Senex Energy Ltd. and Fosun International Ltd., have dropped out of the process, according to the people. 

Origin is expected to receive final bids for Lattice Energy by September, the people said. The company’s advisers are also continuing separate preparations for a potential initial public offering of the business, they said.

Chief Executive Officer Frank Calabria is seeking to reduce Origin’s debt following cost blowouts and asset writedowns at the company’s A$25.9 billion Australia Pacific LNG export facility in Queensland state. An acquisition of Lattice Energy would deliver gas assets in the Otway, Cooper, Bass, Perth and Bonaparte basins of Australia, as well as interests in New Zealand’s Kupe gas project and Canterbury Basin.

A spokeswoman for Origin declined to comment. Representatives for Beach Energy, Fosun, Questus and Senex didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment.

Calabria, who announced a plan in December to list Lattice Energy, said last week the company had engaged with potential bidders at the same time as briefing prospective investors on the IPO. The producer may reduce the pool of buyers to “a smaller number” and a decision was expected after its earnings in August, he said.

— With assistance by Jing Yang De Morel

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