BASF Says Wintershall Dea Won’t Go Public Before September

BASF SE said the long-awaited initial public offering of its Wintershall Dea unit won’t take place before the second half of this year, showing market uncertainty is continuing to keep North Sea oil IPOs on hold.

Wintershall Dea may go public in September at the earliest, its largest shareholder, BASF, said Friday. The Germany-based explorer and producer, valued at more than $20 billion in 2019, is the largest player among a handful of European oil and gas firms looking to sell shares.

In the past two years, many of them have paused those plans, initially as fossil fuels started to lose their appeal to investors amid environmental concerns, and then as oil demand and prices crashed in the first wave of the coronavirus.

While crude has recovered from 2020’s historic rout to trade above $65 a barrel in London -- the highest in more than a year -- many companies are waiting for a more sustained recovery, and better financial results, before pressing ahead.

The list includes Neptune Energy Group Ltd., which has said it’s considering an IPO but hasn’t pinpointed timing. The company said Friday it expects higher free cash flow in the second half of this year.

Both Wintershall Dea and Neptune are reinstating dividends.

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