APA higher bidder for Hastings fund

The Australian natural gas operator has formally tabled an increased, A$1.33bn offer for the Hastings Diversified Utilities Fund. The fund’s directors have given rival consortium Caisse de depot et placement du Quebec/Utilities Trust of Australia until August 14 to come up with a counterbid.

APA, Australia’s largest natural gas infrastructure operator, has made good on its promise to up its bid for the Hastings Diversified Utilities Fund (HDF), submitting a A$1.33 billion (€1.14 billion; $1.39billion) bid for the fund yesterday.
 
A subcommittee of HDF’s independent directors responded to the bid today, saying that “APA’s revised offer is superior to Pipeline Partners Australia’s (PPA) current takeover offer”. HDF’s directors have given PPA, a consortium of Canadian pension Caisse de depot et placement du Quebec and the Utilities Trust of Australia, until next Tuesday to come up with a superior counterbid.
 
“Pipeline Partners Australia has until midnight on Tuesday, 14 August 2012 to either provide an equivalent or superior outcome for HDF securityholders relative to the revised APA offer,” HDF’s directors pointed out in a statement.
 
APA’s revised offer is the latest twist in the heated takeover battle for HDF, which manages two gas pipelines that serve Moomba, Australia’s principal onshore gas hub. The natural gas operator is now offering A$2.51 per HDF security, including A$0.62 in cash and A$0.390 APA securities. PPA has tabled an A$2.32 per share, all-cash bid to take over HDF.
 
APA has been tenacious in its pursuit of HDF, despite having been rebuffed once already by HDF’s directors and having had to pledge to sell one of its pipeline assets to appease the Australian regulator.