BASF prepares offer for RWE's DEA unit -paper

FRANKFURT Thu Dec 19, 2013 3:11am EST

FRANKFURT Dec 19 (Reuters) - German chemicals maker BASF is preparing a bid for DEA, the oil and gas exploration and production (E&P) unit put up for sale by Germany's No.2 utility RWE, Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (FAZ) reported.

BASF's M&A department is working on an offer worth several billions worth of euros, FAZ reported, citing financial and industry sources.

A spokeswoman for BASF declined to comment on the report.

RWE said in March it planned to divest DEA, which accounted for about 11 percent of its operating profit last year, adding a sale was not expected before next year.

At the time, Wintershall, BASF's oil and gas unit, had officially expressed interest in the asset.

Sources familiar with the matter have said that a deadline for initial bids for DEA was now mid-January, after previously targeting end-December.

Last month, several sources told Reuters that Russian billionaire Mikhail Fridman had teamed up with other investors to bid for DEA, with other interested parties being Qatar, KKR , Blackstone and Kuwait Petroleum Corp.