March 6, 2019 / 7:36 AM / 16 days ago

SOCO will not bid for Ophir Energy after original proposal rejected

(Reuters) - Oil and gas producer SOCO International Plc said on Wednesday that it would not make an offer for Ophir Energy Plc after an original all-share proposal was rejected by Ophir in January.

SOCO did not disclose the terms of the original proposal, which was disclosed for the first time on Wednesday.

SOCO said it believes that a share-based combination with Ophir would be challenging to accomplish after Indonesian oil and gas group Medco agreed to buy Ophir for a sweetened cash bid of $511 million in January.

Medco’s offer of 55 pence per Ophir share came after Ophir rejected a previous $437 million, or 48.5 pence per share, potential buyout offer this month, saying it undervalued the company.

Ophir’s market value has collapsed more than 90 percent since the shares peaked at 566.4 pence in 2012. More recently, the company struggled to fund its major liquefied natural gas project in Equatorial Guinea and then lost its licence for the project, prompting warnings of a $300 million write-down for the full year.

Jakarta-headquartered Medco is looking to boost its Southeast Asia portfolio and gain access to international assets with the Ophir deal.

Evercore Partners International LLP was acting as financial adviser exclusively for SOCO.

Reporting by Arathy S Nair in Bengaluru; Editing by Bernard Orr

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