Sector News

Rockhopper Exploration and FOGL announces recommended merger

November 24, 2015
News

The boards of Rockhopper and Falklands Oil and Gas Limited (FOGL) are pleased to announce that they have reached agreement on the terms of a recommended all-share merger to be effected by means of a Court-sanctioned scheme of arrangement under Part IV of the Companies Act 1948, being the legislation applicable in the Falkland Islands where FOGL is incorporated.

The boards of Rockhopper and FOGL believe that a combination of the Rockhopper and FOGL groups represents a compelling opportunity for shareholders of both companies to benefit from the significant value opportunity arising from the combination of their highly complementary portfolios. Specifically, the Combined Group is expected to:

  • be the largest North Falkland Islands licence and discovered resource holder with a material working interest in all key licences;
  • have enhanced prospects of progressing the Sea Lion project through final investment decision;
  • have greater exposure to exploration and appraisal upside potential; and
  • benefit from enhanced scale and capabilities creating value in the current market environment.

Pursuant to the Merger, which will be subject to the Conditions and further terms set out below and in Appendix 1 and to the full terms and conditions which will be set out in the Scheme Document, Scheme Shareholders will receive for each FOGL Share 0.2993 Rockhopper Consideration Shares.

On the date on which the Merger becomes effective , the current shareholders of Rockhopper will own approximately 65 per cent of the Combined Group’s issued share capital and FOGL Shareholders will own approximately 35 per cent.

Based on the closing price of a Rockhopper Share on 23 November 2015 (being the last practicable date prior to the date of this announcement) of 35.75 pence, the Merger values the entire issued and to be issued share capital of FOGL at approximately £57.1 million, and each FOGL Share at 10.70 pence. This represents an 11 per cent premium to FOGL’s closing share price of 9.60 pence on 23 November 2015 (being the last practicable date prior to the date of this announcement).

Following implementation of the Merger, the existing management team of Rockhopper will remain the same with Tim Bushell (Chief Executive Officer of FOGL) and John Martin (Chairman of FOGL) joining the board of Rockhopper as Non-Executive Directors. Colin More will be retained as an advisor to the Combined Group.

The Merger requires approval by FOGL Shareholders in connection with the Scheme and approval by Rockhopper Shareholders in connection with the allotment of the Rockhopper Consideration Shares. The FOGL Directors, who have been advised by RBC Capital Markets as to the financial terms of the Merger, consider the terms of the Merger to be fair and reasonable. In providing its advice to the FOGL Directors, RBC Capital Markets has taken into account the commercial assessments of the FOGL Directors. Accordingly, the FOGL Directors intend unanimously to recommend that FOGL Shareholders vote in favour of the Scheme at the meeting of Scheme Shareholders for the purpose of approving the Scheme and other resolutions to be proposed at the extraordinary general meeting of FOGL Shareholders which is to be convened in connection with the Scheme.

The FOGL Directors and certain FOGL Shareholders have undertaken irrevocably to approve the necessary resolutions in respect of their entire beneficial holdings in FOGL, which, in aggregate, amount to 50,390,798 FOGL Shares, representing approximately 9.44 per cent of the existing share capital of FOGL in issue on 23 November 2015 (being the last practicable date prior to this announcement). The irrevocable undertakings given by the FOGL Directors will cease to be binding only if the Scheme (or Merger Offer, if applicable) lapses or is withdrawn and remain binding if a higher competing offer for FOGL is made. The irrevocable undertakings given by the relevant FOGL Shareholders will cease to be binding only if the Scheme (or Merger Offer, if applicable) lapses or is withdrawn or if a competing offer for FOGL is made which represents, in the reasonable opinion of Canaccord, in excess of a 10 per cent improvement on the value of the consideration offered to FOGL Shareholders pursuant to the terms of the Merger.

In connection with the consent required from the Rockhopper Shareholders to issue approximately 159,684,687 new Rockhopper Shares in connection with the Merger, the Rockhopper Directors intend to convene a general meeting of the Rockhopper Shareholders. A notice convening the Rockhopper General Meeting is anticipated to be despatched to existing Rockhopper Shareholders on or around 27 November 2015 and the Rockhopper General Meeting is anticipated to be held on or around 14 December 2015.

The Rockhopper Directors intend unanimously to recommend that Rockhopper Shareholders vote in favour of the resolution to be proposed at the Rockhopper General Meeting. The Rockhopper Directors have undertaken irrevocably to vote in favour of the resolution to be proposed at the Rockhopper General Meeting in respect of their entire beneficial holdings in Rockhopper, which, in aggregate, amount to 3,630,048 Rockhopper Shares, representing approximately 1.22 per cent of the existing share capital of Rockhopper in issue on 23 November 2015.

Commenting on the Merger, Pierre Jungels, Chairman of Rockhopper said: ‘This transaction enhances Rockhopper’s position in the Falkland Islands, with the largest regional acreage position and most discovered resources, coupled with a strong balance sheet. By combining Rockhopper and FOGL, we shall create a more coherent licence ownership structure in the North Falkland Basin, driven by a technically accomplished organisation with a strong exploration and appraisal track record, well positioned to access the opportunities in this emerging hydrocarbon province. The Rockhopper Board believes this Merger will also add further momentum to the on-going work to progress the development of discovered resources in the area towards commerciality.’

Commenting on the Merger, John Martin, Chairman of FOGL said: ‘FOGL has built a significant portfolio of discovered resources in the Falkland Islands region despite the challenging market conditions. The enhanced scale, capabilities and financial position of the merged FOGL and Rockhopper entity will provide FOGL Shareholders with a platform from which to bring these quality resources into development. As a result, the FOGL Board intends unanimously to recommend that FOGL Shareholders accept the proposed transaction.’

As FOGL is incorporated in and has its registered office in the Falkland Islands, the Takeover Code does not apply to the Merger and FOGL Shareholders should note that the Takeover Panel does not have responsibility for ensuring that the Merger complies with the provisions of the Takeover Code. Rockhopper and FOGL have entered into a Co-operation Agreement to ensure that key aspects of the Merger, relating to timing, process and transaction certainty for each party, are appropriately provided for.

Source: Oil Voice

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