December 9, 2015 / 9:17 PM / 4 years ago

Technip explores sale, has held talks with FMC Technologies: sources

Thierry Pilenko, Chairman and CEO of French oil engineering group Technip, speaks during the company's 2014 annual results news conference in Paris, February 18, 2015. REUTERS/Christian Hartmann

(Reuters) - French oilfield services company Technip TECF.PA is exploring a sale and has held talks with U.S. peer FMC Technologies Inc (FTI.N) about a potential combination, according to people familiar with the matter on Wednesday.

A deal would illustrate how lower energy prices are driving consolidation in the oil services sector, as companies seek savings and synergies to boost profits amid a supply glut that is weighing on exploration and production.

Technip and FMC Technologies, which have market capitalizations of 5.3 billion euros ($5.8 billion) and $6.8 billion respectively, have not yet agreed on terms and there is no certainty they will do so, the people said.

Technip has also held talks with other potential buyers, one of the people added. Shares of Technip rose as much as 10 percent in late afternoon trading in New York after Reuters reported on talks. Technip shares had already closed up 3.6 percent in Paris.

The sources asked not to be identified because the negotiations are confidential. FMC Technologies and Technip did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Earlier this year, FMC Technologies and Technip formed a joint venture, Forsys Subsea, aimed at reducing the cost of subsea oilfield exploration, a sector that has been badly hurt by the drop in the price of oil.

Technip tried to do a deal with CGG SA (GEPH.PA) last year, but talks fell apart when CGG rebuffed Technip’s 1.47 billion euro preliminary takeover approach.

Halliburton Co (HAL.N), the world’s No. 2 oilfield services provider, is currently in the midst of securing regulatory approvals for its acquisition of smaller rival Baker Hughes Inc BHI.N in a stock-and-cash $34.6 billion deal.

Reporting by Mike Stone in New York; Additional reporting by Freya Berry in London, Benjamin Mallet and Matthieu Protard in Paris; Editing by Sandra Maler and Lisa Shumaker

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