Sona Petroleum not taking stake in Singapore's RH Petrogas

Sona Petroleum not taking stake in Singapore's RH Petrogas
RH Petrogas is an oil and gas (O&G) company controlled by Sarawak tycoon Tan Sri Tiong Hiew King.

PETALING JAYA - Contrary to earlier speculation, special-purpose acquisition company (SPAC) Sona Petroleum Bhd will not be taking up any stake in Singapore-listed RH Petrogas Ltd, sources said.

RH Petrogas is an oil and gas (O&G) company controlled by Sarawak tycoon Tan Sri Tiong Hiew King.

The sources said that Tiong, whose flagship company is the unlisted Rimbunan Hijau Group, was not too keen on diluting his interest in RH Petrogas.

"Sona is now in the midst of evaluating other assets. It has moved on from RH Petrogas," they said.

Market speculation had been rife that Sona could be buying a stake in RH Petrogas via both a placement of shares, as well as acquiring some of its assets, mainly offshore O&G blocks.

Earlier reports had indicated that Sona was close to taking up a 10 per cent share placement in RH Petrogas. This had sent RH Petrogas' shares to new highs, doubling in the last month alone.

The counter rose from 51.5 Singapore cents (RM1.28) on Sept 16 to a peak of 92 cents on Oct 10, before sinking to 81 cents at Monday's close.

Meanwhile, Sona has not seen much movement. The mother shares closed unchanged on Monday at 44 sen, while its warrants ended 0.5 sen lower at 27.5 sen.

According to RH Petrogas' website, it currently has five O&G assets and aims to rapidly increase the current production of 4,300 barrels of oil equivalent per day.

Sona's stated plans are to acquire O&G assets that are already producing and whose cash flows would enable it to fund future acquisitions.

Sona had raised RM550mil from its initial public offering (IPO), with 90 per cent of the proceeds being put into a trust. Under the Securities Commission's guidelines, at least 80 per cent of the amount in the trust should be used for its qualified acquisition (QA), and that the acquisition has to be completed within 36 months from the close of the IPO.

Hibiscus Petroleum Bhd was the first SPAC to make its QA back in April 2012, when it acquired a 35 per cent stake in Lime Petroleum for RM168mil. It will start its drilling programme in Oman this month.

CLIQ Energy Bhd, the country's second SPAC, meanwhile, has identified five assets for its first acquisition. The company has received 38 proposals from Asia and Oceania, with five shortlisted for full evaluation. They are from Indonesia, Papua New Guinea and Malaysia.

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