Novus Petroleum Limited – Panel Receives Application [20/05/2004] The Takeovers Panel

Thursday, 20 May 2004

NOVUS PETROLEUM LIMITED: PANEL RECEIVES APPLICATION

The Panel announces that it has received an application from Sunov Petroleum Pty Ltd (Sunov), pursuant to sections 657A and 657D of the Corporations Act 2001 (Cth) for a declaration of unacceptable circumstances and final orders in relation to the affairs of Novus Petroleum Limited (Novus).

Novus is currently the subject of two competing takeover bids. Medco Energi (Australia) Pty Ltd, a wholly owned subsidiary of PT Medco Energi Internasional Tbk (collectively, Medco) announced a conditional takeover bid for Novus on 22 December 2003. Medco’s bid is currently due to close on 8 June 2004. Sunov subsequently announced a conditional takeover bid for Novus on 19 January 2004 which is currently due to close on 3 June 2004.

Sunov alleges that they have seen a number of press reports attributing statements to Medco or its executives, in and outside Australia, which have indicated that Medco would be deciding whether to increase its bid price by a nominated date, but that Medco has let that date pass without making any announcement regarding an increase. Sunov submit that these statements were “last and final statements” as defined in ASIC Policy Statement 25 (Truth in Takeovers) and that to date Medco has not done what it publicly said it would do in those statements, namely announce a decision in relation to its bid price by the specified date.

Sunov has requested that the Panel make final orders that Medco prominently and clearly announce its intentions, by way of issuing a supplementary bidder’s statement or making an announcement to ASX, either that it will increase its bid to a specified price or that its current price of $1.74 will not be increased.

The Panel has not decided whether to conduct proceedings in relation to the application and makes no comment on the merits of the application. It also notes that it has not received submissions from the other parties to the application and it is, therefore, unaware of their views.

The President of the Panel is appointing a sitting Panel to consider the application.

George Durbridge
Director, Takeovers Panel
Level 47, 80 Collins Street
Melbourne, VIC 3000

Ph: +61 3 9655 3553
george.durbridge@takeovers.gov.au