BASF Shares Rise on Report of ADNOC Exploring Wintershall Dea Deal

(Reuters) — Shares in chemicals giant BASF rose on Friday after a report that Abu Dhabi National Oil Co. (ADNOC) is exploring an acquisition of the German group's energy business Wintershall Dea.

BASF stock was up 1.2% at 0855 GMT, with traders pointing to a Bloomberg News report late on Thursday on interest from ADNOC. Germany's benchmark stock index was little changed.

Any deal could value Wintershall Dea at more than 10 billion euros ($11 billion), Bloomberg reported. UK-listed Harbour Energy Plc is also among suitors evaluating the business, the report added, citing people with knowledge of the matter.

BASF, which holds a 72.7% stake in Wintershall Dea, declined to comment, as did Wintershall, ADNOC and Harbour Energy.

In April, BASF CEO Martin Brudermueller said the group was working to exit the energy business, with a market listing as a preferred option. He said last month various options were on the table to sell it.

Wintershall Dea, a joint venture of BASF and Russian billionaire Mikhail Fridman's investment firm LetterOne, has been de-consolidating its Russian activities in the wake of Moscow's invasion of Ukraine.

BASF, which has said that Wintershall Dea's operations in Russia were effectively expropriated, announced last month the legal separation of its Russia-related business would likely be completed by mid-2024.

BASF added at the time it was entitled to significant German state investment guarantees for the Russian assets.

ADNOC has said it is pursuing deal opportunities in renewable energy, gas, petrochemicals and LNG as it steps up its global expansion.

It bought a stake in an Azerbaijani gas field, has put in an offer with BP for a stake in Israeli gas producer NewMed Energy, has opened takeover talks with German plastics maker Covestro and is looking to create a $20 billion chemicals giant with Austria's OMV.

($1 = 0.9168 euro)

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