Regal backs Energees bid

Marion Dakers
UKRAINIAN investment vehicle Energees Management raised its offer for Regal Petroleum from 24p to 38p per share yesterday, in the latest volley between bidders for the London-listed oil explorer.

The Regal board has backed the £85m bid for up to 70 per cent of the firm’s share capital. Hadron Capital and Renaissance Securities, who own 13 per cent of Regal shares, have already given irrevocable undertakings on this offer.

Geo-Alliance and Heamoor, both controlled by Ukrainian investor Victor Pinchuk, have until Friday to improve their informal bid of 25p per share that was first mooted in December.

Smart Holding, the owner of Energees Management, said yesterday the takeover of up to 70 per cent of Regal would be good preparation for future flotations in the UK.

“Our Ukraine business Metinvest will be [floated] at some point and the sooner we build a reputation in the public market the better,” said Denis Rudov, Smart’s chief financial officer.

“Our aim is not just Regal – we aim to build the biggest oil and gas participant in Ukraine, and we want to give the opportunity to the public market to participate in this growth.”

Regal will remain listed on AIM, with shares set to resume trading this week. Shareholders have until 18 February to accept Energees’ offer.

Regal’s colourful founder Frank Timis now holds less than a three per cent stake in the firm, Energees said yesterday, having sold his stake before any offer was announced.

Heamoor and Geo-Alliance were not available for comment yesterday.

Regal shares closed at 31.25p on 17 January, the day before they were suspended in accordance with AIM takeover rules.

Bank of America Merrill Lynch, long-time corporate broker to Regal Petroleum, is advising during the bidding war between Energees and Geo-Alliance/ Heamoor.

Anya Weaving, a director at BAML, and Paul Frankfurt lead the advisers.

Weaving has plenty of experience in M&A battles, having advised KNOC during its tumultuous £1.9bn takeover of Dana Petroleum, which concluded at the start of the year.

Paul Frankfurt acted as corporate broker for Flybe when it floated on the London Stock Exchange in December to value the firm at £215m.

On the Energees Management side, UBS is acting as financial adviser and broker. Thomas Onions and Alison Harding-Jones, both directors of mergers and acquisitions, are leading the team.

Harding-Jones helped Poland sell shares worth £796m in utility firm Tauron last year, while Onions counts recent takeover target DataCash among his clients.