DEO to resume trading on the AIM market following its first acquisition

BRITISH oil explorer DEO Petroleum said last night it expects to start trading again on the Aim market this morning after agreeing a deal to buy a large stake in oil fields off the coast of Perth.

DEO also announced a £16m share placing to fund its first ever acquisition, buy new exploration licences and provide further working capital. Its shares have been suspended since 22 September under the Aim admission rules.


DEO’s purchase of a 42.08 per cent stake in the North Sea assets from the UK arm of Canadian oil giant Nexen will cost around £10.5m. The company must get shareholders’ approval for the deal before it goes ahead.

DEO chief executive David Marshall said: “This is an exciting time for DEO as we make our first acquisition. We have a proven and experienced management team who have successfully developed and commercialised North Sea assets in recent times.

“By applying advanced subsea technology and first class drilling operations to stranded assets we aim to become the leading independent operator of high value subsea developments in the Central North Sea,” he said.

This is the company’s first acquisition since it hired a new management team and changed its name from Microcap in December 2009.

HUGH SANDERSON

FIRST ENERGY CAPITAL

FROM the finer points of corporate finance through to the mucky business of building oil pipelines, DEO has taken no chances and drafted in advisers to cover all corners of its first acquisition.

Broker and lead book runner First Energy Capital has its roots in Canada, having starting life as an energy-focused adviser in one of the frontiers of oil exploration. Managing director of corporate finance Hugh Sanderson has been with the company since 2000, and moved to London to help launch First Energy’s office here. Before joining, he was an assistant vice president of research at Merrill Lynch, where he covered oil and gas, energy utilities and pipelines. He holds an MBA from Dalhousie University, and a BA in economics from McGill University. Derek Smith is also advising on behalf of First Energy.

Acting as nominated adviser and placing agent is Merchant Securities, an Aim-listed company with a focus on institutional research and corporate finance. Bidhi Bhoma, director of corporate finance and qualified solicitor, heads the team. He specialised in corporate finance and M&A while at law firm Denton Wilde Sapte, before joining Merchant in 2004. Virginia Bull, assistant director of corporate finance, is also advising. She has a degree in maths from Liverpool University.