ETFs for a Chinese Energy Acquisition Spree
Cnooc's (NYSE: CEO) $15.1 billion offer to buy Canada's Nexen, if completed, will be the largest international acquisition to date by a Chinese energy firm. The Cnooc/Nexen deal may also just be the tip of the iceberg when it comes to energy deals involving Chinese producers.
PetroChina (NYSE: PTR), China's largest oil company, said in 2010 it would spend $60 billion on acquisitions over the next decade. Sinopec (NYSE: SNP), Asia's largest refiner has not been shy about making international asset purchases, either.
What may dampen China's appetite for energy deals in the near-term is waning demand for crude. However, if and when the global economy starts registering consistently positive growth numbers, China's oil demand and desire for deals will rise. These are some of the ETFs that could benefit:
First Trust ISE-Revere Natural Gas Index Fund (NYSE: FCG) FCG has frequently been mentioned as one ETF that is loaded with possible takeover targets. As it pertains to the theme of Chinese energy acquisitions, FCG is particularly relevant because this ETF's constituents are likely to engage in asset sales, not necessarily outright sales of themselves.
That is an important factor because as the U.S. government showed when Cnooc tried to acquire Unocal several years ago, it is not fussed on the idea of Chinese energy firms buying U.S. counterparts. Asset sales are a different story. One FCG constituent, Chesapeake Energy (NYSE: CHK), has already sold billions of dollars worth of shale assets to Cnooc.
Global X FTSE Argentina 20 ETF (NYSE: ARGT) Despite its vast energy and minerals riches, Argentina is developing a bad reputation regarding how it treats Western companies looking to tap the country's resources. That alone makes Occidental Petroleum (NYSE: OXY) seem quite smart for selling its Argentine assets to Sinopec in 2010.
However, Argentina has not shown any overt hostility to Chinese resources firms looking to do business there. With Cnooc and Sinopec already active in Argentina, the South American country makes for a logical destination for acquisitive Chinese energy firms.
Market Vectors Unconventional Oil & Gas ETF (NYSE: FRAK) The newly minted FRAK makes for an obvious addition to this list for two reasons. First, many of the ETF's largest U.S.-based holdings either have been or could be voracious sellers of shale assets. Second, 23.5 percent of FRAK's weight is devoted to Canadian companies. If the Cnooc/Nexen clears regulatory hurdles, that will be another sign Canada is open to business for Chinese oil producers.
Guggenheim Canadian Energy Income Fund (NYSE: ENY) See above. The Guggenheim Canadian Energy Income Fund's 32 holdings are all Canadian firms. That number could drop to 31 because Nexen is ENY's smallest constituent. ENY is home to enough small- and mid-cap names that it is fair to say any of China's big three oil companies could easily afford to acquire at least a third of this ETF's holdings.
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