Premier Oil: Edinburgh court approves North Sea acquisition
It approved the creditor schemes of arrangement needed to complete the deal along with the related funding and extension of credit facilities.
However, the process has hit a snag as a single dissenting party has announced its intention to appeal the court’s judgment which, until the appeal is concluded, prevents the company from registering the court order to Companies House.
“We are very pleased to have secured the court’s endorsement,” said Tony Durrant, Premier chief executive.
“This underlines the strength of our legal case and demonstrates that we are able to use a scheme of arrangement as a mechanism to secure lender consent for transactions designed to improve the business.
“We look forward to the early disposition of the appeal so that we can proceed to register the court’s order.
“We are also grateful for the continued support shown by the majority of our creditors in relation to the schemes.”
In January, Premier announced it would acquire the Andrew Area and Shearwater assets from BP for US$625mln.
A US$500mln share issue will fund the deal, which also included changes to its existing loan terms.
Analysts at European investment bank Berenberg, in a note, provided context to the proposed changes.
“If executed, the scheme of arrangement will extend the maturity of debt facilities to 30 November 2023, as well as relax capex and acquisition covenants,” Berenberg said in a note.
“With c$2bn of debt to repay, confirmation of the extension to 2023 would not solve Premier’s balance sheet issue, but it is designed does provide more time to reduce the debt burden and refinance the debt to a more conventional E&P structure– eg reserve-based lending and high yield debt.
“Enabling the extension to November 2023 leaves a refinancing requirement of c$1bn, on our price deck. This is still a significant refinancing, but should be achievable with on our expectation of 2.5x leverage.”