Ophir CEO Nick Cooper. Image courtesy of Ophir.

UK-based explorer Ophir Energy agreed Monday to purchase Salamander Energy in an all share acquisition worth $492 million.

Ophir will trade 0.57 of its own shares for each Salamander share.

Shareholders of UK-based Salamander will own 20.9 percent of the newly merged company.

The deal values Salamander shares at $1.82 (115.9p) per share, a 44.5 percent premium over closing on the last day of the prior offer period.

The offer is conditional on Salamander cancelling its deal to sell a 40 percent stake in two offshore Thailand oil and gas blocks to Malaysia’s Sona Petroleum.

A consortium led by Spain’s Cepsa backed out of its bid for Salamander last Monday for undisclosed reasons.

Hong Kong-based Jynwel Capital had also made an offer.

“Combining Ophir and Salamander will create a balanced African and South East Asian operating platform, designed to deliver Ophir’s exploration-led strategy across both regions,” Ophir’s non-executive chairman Nicholas Smith said.

Salamander is an exploration and production company focused on Thailand and Indonesia.

Ophir CEO Nick Cooper previously served as CFO at Salamander, a company he also helped found.

Ophir expects 2014 average daily production to be between 13,000 to 16,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day, with 80 percent of production operated by the company.


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