China's state-run Sinochem Corp has agreed to buy British oil and gas explorer Emerald Energy Plc for about 532.1 million pounds ($878.2 million) in cash, the companies said on Wednesday.

The offer price of 750 pence per share is almost 34 percent higher than the closing price of 560.50 pence on July 10, the last trading day before an announcement by Emerald that it had received an approach. The shares closed on Tuesday at 675 pence.

Emerald's Syrian and Colombian assets have attractive growth potential and, by bringing Emerald into the Sinochem group, will reinforce our position in the Middle East and South America, said Han Gensheng, president of Sinochem.

The acquisition strengthens our operations and represents another step in our strategy of building a global energy company.

Emerald's board of directors have unanimously recommended the offer and Sinochem has pledges from holders of 37.56 percent of Emerald's shares to vote in favor.

In July, Emerald said it had received a takeover approach, continuing a wave of consolidation in the sector, lifting the company's shares on hopes of an offer at around 750 pence a share.