* Appoints Goldman Sachs as financial adviser
* In talks with "a small number" of potential buyers
* Company seeking buyer for stakes in Thai, Indonesian
* Shares rise as much as 16 pct
(Adds analyst comment, background, updates share price)
By Karen Rebelo
May 1 Salamander Energy Plc is
considering selling itself and has opened talks with "a small
number" of potential buyers, the company said on Thursday,
sending its shares up 16 percent to their highest in almost a
Salamander, which produces oil and gas in Thailand and
Indonesia, said it had appointed Goldman Sachs International as
financial adviser to conduct the formal sale process. It
declined to identify the parties with which it is in talks.
The company, co-founded in 2005 by its current CEO James
Menzies, said it had been considering selling minority interests
in its Bualuang oilfield in the Gulf of Thailand and its
Kerendan gas field in Indonesia's Central Kalimantan province.
In addition to attracting interest in these assets,
Salamander said it had received "a small number of preliminary
and conditional approaches" for its entire share
Salamander's London-listed shares have lost more than a
quarter of their value over the past year, weighed down by some
disappointing exploration results.
Menzies, speaking to Reuters in March, said southeast Asia
"hasn't been a great exploration province".
On Thursday morning, the company's shares hit a high of
155.75 pence in early trading, a level last seen in July 2013.
Peel Hunt analyst Werner Riding said a "potentially
achievable bid" for Salamander would be within a range of 155 to
175 pence per share.
"The last few years, the share price performance hasn't been
particularly strong off the back of some operational performance
and exploration that hasn't really delivered," Werner said.
The company's average daily production, nevertheless, rose
by almost a third last year to 14,200 barrels of oil equivalent.
Pretax profit for the year ended Dec. 31, 2013 more than
quadrupled to $47.3 million.
Analysts said Thailand's state-owned PTT, the
fourth-biggest oil and gas firm by market value in the
Asia-Pacific region, could be a potential bidder for Salamander.
PTT was not immediately available for comment on Thursday, a
holiday in much of Asia.
Salamander's shares were up 8.2 percent at 145.3 pence at
0900 GMT on the London Stock Exchange.
($1 = 0.5922 British Pounds)
(Editing by Robin Paxton)