Origin bulks up Lattice divestment with $250 million deal

Origin Energy has done a $250 million deal that will see it take full control of a gas assets off the south coast as it advances its plans for a spin off of its upstream energy business.
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The first of of the deal will Origin’s proposed spin-off Lattice Energy acquire Benaris’ 27.7 per cent stake in the Otway Gas Project Joint Venture for $190 million.

The acquisition, effective from 1 July 2017, will be completed once Lattice Energy is divested, and will provide the new entity with a 95 per cent stake in Otway, with the remainder to be held by Toyota Tsusho Corporation.

The deal also includes Benaris’ 29.23 per cent interest in the neighbouring T/30P and VIC/P43 Exploration Joint Ventures, lifting Lattice’s share to 100 per cent of the exploration projects.

An Origin Energy spokeswoman said the agreement would simplify new ownership structures following the divestment, as well as make future development of the Otway project easier.

The Otway Joint Venture consists of offshore gas fields, incorporating Thylacine in Tasmania and Geographe in Victoria, and produces an average 60 petajoules per annum. The agreement will not affect Origin’s other offshore Otway Basin located projects, Halladale and Speculant.

Under a separate agreement, Lattice will also pay Benaris $60 million for 11.89 petajoules of reserves in order to rebalance the share of gas between the two, following the historical lifting of production at Otway, and is not conditional upon Lattice’s divestment.

While Origin has the rights to acquire the assets, it stated it had no obligations to do so if the proposed Lattice Energy divestment did not proceed.

According to the Origin spokeswoman, this latest acquisition would not affect the timing of the Lattice divestment.

Origin is examining both a trade sale and an IPO process for the Lattice. Origin shares were up 1.48 per cent to $7.86 on Monday.

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