Premier Oil diversifies away from bank debt with new sterling bond

Suzie Neuwirth
FTSE 250-listed energy explorer Premier Oil yesterday launched a new bond, as it looks to diversify its debt away from banks.

The new five per cent sterling-denominated notes mature in 2020 and are available to both wholesale and retail investors.

The offer period is expected to close at noon on 6 December and the firm hopes to raise between £100m and £150m.

Barclays, Canaccord Genuity and Lloyds Bank will act as joint lead managers on the issue.

“We’re looking to diversify our sources of debt finance away from banks and more towards the bond market,” chief financial officer Tony Durrant told City A.M. “Bank debt tends to mature in around five years and we’re looking for a longer maturity, of 15 or 20 years.”

Premier has already tapped into the US and Asian debt markets so is diversifying with this new sterling offering. Durrant said this bond issue will be the last one in 2013, but added that another Asian bond could be a possibility next year due to investor interest in Singapore.

Premier has struggled with operational issues this year and slashed its full-year production guidance down from 63,000 barrels of oil per day (bopd) to 57,000-59,000 bopd back in October, although it said these issues would be resolved shortly.

The firm is planning a principal refinancing due by the first quarter of 2015.