* Vallares closes fundraising sooner than expected
* Funds raised exceeds 1 bln stg target
* Concerns grow about emerging market company listings
(Recasts lead, adds detail, founder comments)
By Tom Bergin
LONDON, June 17 Former BP boss Tony
Hayward and financier Nat Rothschild said they had raised 1.35
billion pounds ($2.18 billion) from investors to create a bid
vehicle to target emerging market oil assets.
Vallares, as the company will be known, aims to make a
reverse takeover of an unlisted oil group in an emerging market,
which needs money to develop its assets.
Vallares effectively offers a target, whose owners may end
up with a majority stake of the listed company, a fast track
route to a UK stockmarket listing and, thereby, the ability to
raise money more cheaply than they currently can.
The vehicle has two years to strike a deal, or to return the
cash to investors, and will begin unconditional trading on the
London Stock Exchange on June 22, the company said on Friday.
The listing of emerging markets companies on Western markets
has come under scrutiny in recent weeks, with accusations that
corporate governance practices are below those usually expected
Shares in Toronto-listed Chinese forestry group Sino-Forest
have collapsed in the past two weeks after allegations
of fraud. (ID:nN15105730]
Four non-executives at London Stock Exchange-listed Kazakh
mining group ENRC departed last week, with two
criticising the company's corporate governance.
China's Longtop Financial Technologies , China
MediaExpress Holdings Inc and others were hit recently
by accusations of accounting fraud, including from short-sellers
or regulatory probes. .
Julian Metherell, one of the founders, and a former senior
Goldman Sachs banker, said such concerns were addressed by a
voting cap which would limited any one Vallares shareholders'
voting rights to 29.9 percent.
Metherell added that Vallares's high profile board, which
includes Hayward, who stepped down last year amid criticism of
his handling of BP's response to the Gulf of Mexico oil spill,
and Jim Leng, former chairman of steel maker Corus, would also
help ensure all investors interests were defended .
Rodney Chase, deputy CEO at BP under Hayward's predecessor,
John Browne, is chairman of Vallares.
Metherell said investors had not been deterred by the
participation of Hayward, who became a hate figure in the U.S.
following gaffes he made about the spill. The shareholder base
includes long-only investment funds on both sides of the
Atlantic, hedge funds and sovereign wealth funds.
Vallares echoes Vallar, a structure Rothschild, scion of the
famous banking family, created last year to focus on coal
Vallar is in the process of buying control of two
Indonesia-focussed mining ventures from companies within the
indebted Bakrie Group, in return for giving the
politically-connected Bakries around half of Vallar.
Indonesia's stock exchange said in July it would fine three
Bakrie firms including Bakrie & Bros for failing to
explain discrepancies in their financial reports. A unit of
Bakrie-controlled Pt Bumi Resources has been probed
for alleged tax evasion, a charge it denied.
Metherell defended Vallares's structure of remunerating
founders with special shares and performance incentives which
will net them hundreds of millions of dollars if a target is
found, saying the success of the fundraising shows fund managers
consider it fair.
The Vallares announcement confirmed a Reuters story on
Thursday which said the deal, which was expected to close next
week, would close early and that the initial target of 1 billion
pounds would be exceeded.
(Additional reporting by Kylie McLellan, Clara
Ferreira-Marques; Editing by Hans-Juergen Peters)