Australia: Norton Rose Fulbright advises Sona Petroleum on US$280 million acquisition of a 40 per cent stake in the Greater Bualuang Area
Last Updated: 12 August 2014

Global legal practice Norton Rose Fulbright has advised Sona Petroleum Berhad (Sona Petroleum), a special purpose acquisition company listed on the Malaysian Stock Exchange, on its first acquisition. It consists of a 40 per cent working interest in the B8/38 concession containing the producing Bualuang oil field and the prospective surrounding G4/50 concession, both located in the Gulf of Thailand.

The Norton Rose Fulbright team included lawyers from the global legal practice's Bangkok, Sydney and Singapore offices, and the Jakarta associate office.

Sona Petroleum, acting through a special purpose vehicle, has signed a definitive share purchase agreement with Salamander Energy (Bualuang) Ltd for the US$280 million acquisition. This transaction will see Sona Petroleum participating in all stages of the upstream value chain.

Salamander is an independent upstream oil and gas exploration and production company listed on the main market of the London Stock Exchange, and has a portfolio of producing and development and exploration assets in Thailand, Indonesia and Malaysia.

The transaction is to be effected via a share sale to Sona Petroleum of an interest in Salamander Energy. Salamander will continue to provide certain technical and other services in relation to the concessions and the relationship between Sona Petroleum and Salamander will be governed by a series of documents including a Shareholders Agreement, Joint Operating Agreements and certain Management, Technical and Support Service Agreements.

The acquisition will be funded via cash raised through a combination of Sona Petroleum's internal funds, an initial public offering in July 2013 and external bank borrowings from BNP Paribas and the RHB Banking Group.

The transaction was led in Singapore by partner Ashley Wright, assisted by partner Shamim Razavi (Jakarta), associates Zoë Bromage (Singapore), Vanessa Chew (Singapore), Bintang Hidayanto (Jakarta), Vanda Kaonang (Jakarta) and Yoga Prananto (Jakarta) on all English law aspects. Senior associate Tassanai Kiratisountorn (Bangkok) and associate Wangthan Thipthara (Bangkok) advised on Thai law aspects. Partner Chris Redden (Sydney) advised on acquisition financing aspects of this transaction.

Ashley Wright, corporate partner in the Singapore office of Norton Rose Fulbright, commented:

"This is a challenging and large-scale acquisition which involves a number of jurisdictions. This significant acquisition opens up our client's development into an independent upstream oil and gas sector, and brings to it a portfolio of production, development and exploration assets in Thailand."

Clifford Chance advised Salamander.

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