UNC Resources Inc. announced yesterday that it has begun discussions with N.C.C. Energy Ltd. that could lead to an offer by UNC to acquire the London-based energy and minerals company.
Among N.C.C.'s assets are approximately $65 million in marketable securities of publicly traded energy companies, UNC noted. Although it made no mention of it, acquisition of N.C.C.'s liquid securites could help UNC in its stated intention to acquire Western Airlines.
UNC and its officials were silent yesterday on the question of whether they will make a bid for Western, whose planned merger with Continential appears to be almost doomed by the last-minute tender offer for Continental by Texas International Airlines.
UNC, based in Falls Church, is the holding company for United Nuclear Corp., an energy company engaged primarily in uranium mining and milling. Its other activites include the manufacture of nuclear products, such as reactor cores and components for the U.S. Navy's nuclear fleet, contract drilling, and the management of oil and gas leases. However, UNC recently has been pursuing an active diversification program to stem the impact of a softening in both the demand for the price of uranium.
N.C.C. is an "indication of some of the looking we are doing," UNC President Keith A. Cunningham said in an interview yesterday. He said that if the two companies decide to proceed, "the basic deal could be done fairly rapidly," which he said meant within weeks.
N.C.C. Energy, listed on the London Stock Exchange, has significant interests in oil, gas and minerals in the United States, the United Kingdom, Ireland and Australia.
UNC said yesterday that it has conveyed a formal offer to open discussions with G. Ferguson Lacey, N.C.C.'s chairman and chief executive officer. "Whilst the situation is in a preliminary stage and no specific offer has been made, in the light of N.C.C.'s energy interests in America, the obvious commercial logic makes the prospects for full discussions interesting," Lacey said.