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SA Business
Mar 9 2011 9:00AM
SacOil London listing approved, will seek Africa growth options
Upbeat: CEO Robin Vela leads SacOil in its acquisitive growth drive. Picture: THEMBA MASEKO
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Luphert Chilwane

The Reserve Bank had approved the listing of SacOil on the London Stock Exchange’s Alternative Investment Market (AIM), Robin Vela, the oil and gas company’s CEO said on Tuesday.

“We are delighted that we are moving to a secondary AIM listing with such speed,” he said. “Our appointed advisers have been exceptional in their support and efficient administration of this next crucial step for SacOil’s aggressive growth plans.”

The AIM admission is set to take place on or about April 8. The company’s primary listing remains on the JSE Securities Exchange.

The company will list a total of 674 090 410 ordinary shares of no par value on AIM and begin trading with an anticipated market capitalisation of about R1.7bn.

Vela said the board intended attracting new UK institutional investors and raising the company’s public profile to ensure it remained sufficiently capitalised to further develop its exploration projects.

In addition, the company needed to execute near production and producing oil and gas transactions it had in the pipeline.

Vela further announced that the Paris-based oil and gas giant, Total, would buy a 60% stake in the company’s oil block in the Democratic Republic of Congo with immediate gross cash realisation of $7.5m (about R51.8m) for SacOil.

“The Total deal – expected to be closed by the end of this month–is significant for us,” Vela said.

“It will validate our accreditation and shows that we are able to attract major deals.”

SacOil, which was formerly known as the SA Mineral Resources Corporation, aims to become a fully fledged upstream oil and gas company with a strong portfolio of pan-African assets. It is in involved in all phases of the upstream cycle – exploration, appraisal and near production and has a presence in the Democratic Republic of Congo and Nigeria.

Vela said SacOil would continue with its stated strategy of targeting the acquisition of discovered but undeveloped or previously producing but now shut, near-term producing and production upstream oil and gas assets on the African continent.

The board believed that the “indigenisation” laws in Africa, coupled with the departure of certain oil majors from these oilfields, provided opportunities for emerging oil players, such as SacOil. Indigenisation laws require companies, mostly foreign, to give as much as half of their operations in a country to the local population.

SacOil has two close to production deals in Nigeria, the latest struck on March 1 with the Transnational Corporation of Nigeria for a 20% stake in the

OPL281 field, located onshore in the western delta region of ­Nigeria.

In December, SacOil and joint-venture partner Equity Energy Resources bought a 40% stake in an oil and gas bloc, OPL233, ­situated in the central delta region.

The company expects oil production from Nigeria within three years.

Vela said he did not see as a threat the political turmoil in most North African and Middle East countries.

“Instead deals become more valuable to us.”

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