Sona Petroleum among SPAC aspirants

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KUALA LUMPUR: Another special purpose acquisition company (SPAC) Sona Petroleum Bhd, which is headed by Datuk Seri Hadian Hashim and Datuk Maznah Abdul Jalil, has submitted its application to be listed on Bursa Malaysia’s Main Market.

In its prospectus exposure on Securities Commission Malaysia’s (SC) website yesterday, Sona said it plans to raise up to RM550 million from the issuance of up to 1.1 billion new shares together with warrants at 50 sen.

Sona plans to offer 141 million shares or 10% of its paid-up share capital for retail offering and up to 959 million shares or 68% stake as institutional offering via private placement.

The management company Platinum Autumn Sdn Bhd, which is controlled by Hadian and Maznah, will see its interest reduced to 20% in the enlarged shareholding of Sona Petroleum post listing.

Like the other SPACs, Platinum Autumn’s cost is one sen per share while other investors will subscribe at 50 sen per share.

Oil and gas SPAC Hibiscus Petroleum Bhd was the first to be listed last year. So far CLIQ Energy Bhd, which is also an oil and gas SPAC, has received the approval to list.

Apart from Sona, two other SPACs have submitted their prospectus exposure to the SC for approval. They are TerraGali Resources Bhd and Australaysia Resources & Mineral Bhd. Both are in the mineral segment. The minimum amount that needs to be raised before a SPAC can be listed is RM150 million, a figure Platinum Autumn is confident of raising.

“However, we are offering up to 1.1 billion shares so as to raise up to RM550 million under our IPO as we believe a larger capital base may give us more options when we acquire an asset as our qualifying acquisition,” it said.

Sona Petroleum describes itself as formed by a group of experienced senior executives who are “passionate about and are active in the oil and gas industry, in particular, in exploration and production (E&P)”.

The company said its intention is to acquire assets in the E&P phases of the oil and gas value chain and they are looking at oil fields in the region and the Middle East.

“Depending on the proceeds raised from our IPO, this may entail the acquisition of a single asset or the simultaneous acquisition of several assets,” it said.

The company said its management team believe any amount between RM150 million and RM550 million would still place Sona in a favourable position to complete its qualifying acquisition. Under the SPAC rules, the company must set aside 90% of its IPO proceeds into a trust for the purpose of acquiring an asset.

Sona said some RM33.8 million from its IPO proceeds would be utilised as working capital to finance its operating expenses.

Hadian, who is managing director of Sona, is a well-known name in the oil and gas industry and a major shareholder in Integrated Petroleum Services Sdn Bhd, a company that provides services and products to the upstream oil and gas sector.

Executive director Maznah, a former merchant banker, was better known in her days in DRB-Hicom Bhd in the 1990s where she was senior group director for corporate finance and advisory.

This article first appeared in The Edge Financial Daily, on March 8, 2013.

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