ABERDEEN-BASED oil and gas firm Eland is to be bought by Nigerian oil firm Seplat in an offer which values the Scottish company at just over £380 million.

The deal was announced jointly yesterday by Eland, an independent oil and gas company focused on production, development and exploration in West Africa, particularly the Niger Delta region of Nigeria, and Seplat which has rapidly become one of the leading oil producers in its native country.

Eland announced: “The boards are pleased to announce that they have reached agreement on the terms of a recommended cash acquisition of the entire issued and to be issued ordinary share capital of Eland by Seplat.”

The deal was struck at 166p per share, a premium of 32% on the six month average share price.

Eland chief executive George Maxwell said: “This recommended offer from Seplat represents the culmination of a very successful journey by Eland, the management team and all of its stakeholders. Since founding Eland, we have, jointly with our partners in Elcrest, acquired our interests in OML 40, a non-producing asset, achieved an all-time record production on this asset and become a significant independent producer in Nigeria’s exploration and production (E &P) landscape and one of the biggest oil producers on London’s AIM market.

“Eland has, in a period which has seen a significant cyclical downturn in our industry, outperformed most of its peers and the AIM Oil & Gas Index. This transaction represents a record share price for Eland and crystallises Eland’s stated goal to maximise shareholder value.”

Russell Harvey, chairman of Eland, commented: “Eland’s management team has done an excellent job executing our strategy. We have demonstrated a strong track record of operational delivery and value creation in Nigeria from our high-quality assets.

“This offer allows Eland shareholders to benefit from an accelerated and enhanced realisation of this value through a cash offer at a significant premium to the current market value. In addition, the business will benefit from the opportunity to become part of a more significant player in the Nigerian oil and gas market. For these reasons, the Eland Board unanimously intends to recommend the offer to Eland Shareholders.”

Dr. Bryant Orjiako, chairman of Seplat, said: “Since Seplat acquired its first blocks and commenced production in 2010, we have increased oil and gas production and grown reserves in each year of operation, delivering significant growth and value for our shareholders. We firmly believe that Eland is a complementary fit with Seplat and that there will be enhanced scale and a wider range of capabilities made available to the enlarged group through the combination.

“This acquisition signals the next step in our journey that will underpin Seplat’s ambition to be the leading independent E&P in Nigeria.”