DEA Chief Expects To Sign Wintershall Merger In March Or April


OSLO, March 1 (Reuters) - A final deal to merge German oil firm Wintershall and DEA, a vehicle of Russian billionaire Mikhail Fridman, will likely be signed in March or April, DEA Chief Executive Maria Moraeus Hanssen said on Thursday.

The companies aim to close the deal by the end of the year, and plan to list the new firm within 18 months of the closing, she told a conference in Oslo.

Wintershall's parent, German chemicals group BASF, said on Tuesday the deal would probably close by the end of the third quarter of 2018.

Moraeus Hanssen told Reuters the deal could be closed sooner than the end of 2018 but she expected to take at least six months to get national and regulatory approvals after the merger deal is signed.

"However, I don't expect any problems in getting approvals, including in Norway," she said.

BASF said on Wednesday an initial public offering (IPO) of the merged entity would not take place before 2020 and would depend on market conditions.

Fridman's LetterOne Group outbid BASF in 2014 to acquire DEA from German utility RWE, in a move to diversify his energy interests outside Russia. Now BASF would hold the majority of the shares in the joint enterprise.

(Reporting by Nerijus Adomaitis Editing by Terje Solsvik/Mark Heinrich)


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