Oil veteran Gandur plans Canada IPO for Oryx Petroleum

Thu Mar 28, 2013 5:44pm EDT

* Files preliminary prospectus for Canada IPO

* Oryx has assets in Kurdistan, west Africa

* AOG chairman Gandur said hopes for "second Addax"

By Tom Miles and Emma Farge

GENEVA, March 28 (Reuters) - Addax & Oryx Group (AOG), chaired by billionaire Jean Claude Gandur, plans to list its oil exploration subsidiary Oryx Petroleum in Canada, the firm said on its website.

Oil industry veteran Gandur was catapulted onto the Forbes rich list in 2009 when he sold Addax Petroleum to Sinopec three years after its IPO.

"AOG's upstream division, Oryx Petroleum, has filed a preliminary prospectus with the securities authorities in Canada, as the first step in the process of preparing for an initial public offering on the Toronto Stock exchange," the company said on its website on March 15.

It did not give further details of the IPO timing.

Like Addax, Oryx has a focus on the Middle East and West Africa, with interests in the Kurdish and Wasit regions of Iraq, Nigeria, Republic of Congo and the offshore AGC block between Senegal and Guinea Bissau.

"When we sold in 2009 we had long chats with the board about what to do," AOG's chairman billionaire Jean Claude Gandur told Reuters in an interview last month, before the decision to list Oryx Petroleum.

"I said I would like to give a last chance to rebuild a second Addax Petroleum - I love upstream, I have a lot of knowledge and I know a lot of actors in the sector and I would like to rebuild a new Addax Petroleum and that's the one we call Oryx Petroleum today."

The latest IPO figures suggest that Oryx might have picked a good moment to tap the market.

This year's stock market rebound and easing concerns about the world economy mean that more companies are lining up to list, with U.S. IPO volumes up 65 percent so far this quarter.

But Oryx has yet to earn a dollar of revenues or find its first barrel of oil. Gandur is preparing a Toronto initial public offering, underwritten by RBC Dominion Securities, Barclays Capital and Merrill Lynch, to fund exploration until mid-2014.

Addax was also floated in Toronto, in early 2006, and was taken over by the Chinese state-controlled oil giant in late 2009 for an enterprise value of about C$10 billion ($9.84 billion).

Addax and Oryx Group Ltd, majority-owned by a trust created by Gandur and named after two breeds of African antelope, has so far invested about $700 million in Oryx Petroleum.

But Oryx had only about $308 million in cash in January, according to a preliminary prospectus for the IPO, while it plans to spend $325 million on exploration in 2013 alone.

The firm bought control of the Hawler field in Kurdistan in 2012 from AAR Advisory Services, the group of Russian billionaires who sold half of TNK-BP to Rosneft for $28 billion last December.

The field had a shareholder loan from AAR valued at $377.9 million at Aug 9, 2011, but Oryx Petroleum will come to the market with no debt, according to the preliminary prospectus.

AOG also has investments ranging from energy to real estate, as well as a downstream oil business, Oryx Energies, which Gandur has said will invest $400 million over the next four to five years in Africa.

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