Delek Drops as Woodside Delays Leviathan Deal: Tel Aviv Mover

Mar 30, 2014 9:42 am ET

March 30 (Bloomberg) -- Delek Group Ltd. fell the most in four weeks after Australia’s Woodside Petroleum Ltd. missed an investment deadline in Israel’s largest gas field.

The shares of the company, which owns stakes in the offshore Leviathan field via its Delek Drilling-LP and Avner Oil Exploration LLP units, declined 1.9 percent, the biggest retreat since March 3, to 1,338 shekels at the close in Tel Aviv. The benchmark TA-25 Index rose 0.2 percent.

Woodside, Australia’s second-largest oil producer, missed its March 27 deadline for completing the purchase of a stake in Leviathan. Talks are continuing “with a view to resolving the remaining issues,” the Perth-based company said March 28. Woodside planned to buy a stake worth as much as $2.6 billion in the field.

“There’s investor disappointment,” Guil Bashan, an analyst at IBI-Israel Brokerage & Investments Ltd., said by phone today. “It raises the specter that the deal may not be signed and that the companies will have to raise money to be able to develop the field.” The deal will eventually be signed, “one way or the other”, he said.

Shares of Delek Group have advanced 31 percent in the last 12 months, making it the fifth-best performing stock on the benchmark measure, which gained 13 percent in the period. The company sold non-energy assets to focus on its oil and gas business and its Tamar field started production last year.

Delek Drilling lost 1.8 percent, Avner retreated 1.4 percent and Ratio Oil Exploration 1992 LP, another partner in the field, declined 2.6 percent.

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