Inter Pipeline Ltd. said on Friday that it had received an unsolicited takeover proposal from a third party, but stressed that it is not in talks to sell the company.
Inter’s announcement confirmed a Globe and Mail report that an unnamed suitor had recently approached the board with a cash offer that could be worth as much as $12.4-billion. The company said that the overture had not been comprehensive enough to disclose to shareholders.
It made the announcement at the request of the Investment Industry Regulatory Organization of Canada (IIROC) after two days of sharp gains in the shares of Calgary-based Inter, which is known for regional pipelines and gas-processing operations in Canada as well as a European bulk fuel storage business.
“While it is the company's policy not to comment on market speculation or rumours, Inter Pipeline confirms that it received an unsolicited, non-binding, conditional and indicative proposal to purchase the company but it is not in negotiations with any third party, nor is there any agreement, understanding or arrangement with respect to any such transaction,” the company said in a statement.
On Thursday, The Globe reported that Inter had received a cash takeover proposal of $30 a share. The board had rejected the offer, sources familiar with the situation said without identifying the suitor.
The company has made a series of moves to finance a $3.5-billion petrochemical plant that it is building near Edmonton. So far, it has spent $1.6-billion on the Heartland propane-to-polypropylene facility.
Executives, led by chief executive officer Christian Bayle, have said that they prefer on seeing the project through on their own. Heartland is scheduled to start up in late 2021, and is projected to generate earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization of $450-million to $500-million annually.
Inter said on Thursday that it has begun seeking interest in its fuel-terminal business, which includes 23 facilities in Britain, Ireland, Germany, Denmark, the Netherlands and Sweden. The business could be worth more than $1-billion, according to one trade-publication report, and proceeds from a sale would go partly to capital spending on the Heartland project.
Executives said they expect the assets to attract strong interest.
Earlier on Friday, Mr. Bayle said during a conference call to discuss second-quarter results that he would not talk about the report of takeover interest.
“Our focus today is on our financial results and recent announcements and we don’t intend to comment any further on those matters today,” he told analysts.
Inter shares rose 5 per cent on Friday to close at $24.81, their highest in nearly a year. They are up 14 per cent since Wednesday’s close.
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