x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 24 July 2017

RAK Petroleum eyes international share listing

RAK Petroleum, the local company that holds stakes in Iraqi Kurdistan oil operations, is to seek an international listing.

RAK Petroleum, the local company with energy interests in Iraqi Kurdistan, is seeking to list its production assets on a European or North American stock market.

The company's main holdings are its 42.8 per cent stake in DNO, a Norwegian producer that pumps oil in Kurdistan and the Arabian Gulf region.

To enable the listing, RAK Petroleum will create a new company in the Netherlands to hold its stake in DNO. The Dutch entity will in turn be owned by a to-be-created British company, which RAK then hopes to list on a "major" European or North American exchange, the company said.

Shareholders in the emirate approved the plan today.

"The Board of Directors is gratified by our shareholders' vote of confidence in our plans and we are excited about opening a new chapter in RAK Petroleum's future," said Bijan Mossavar-Rahmani, the chairman and chief executive.

The plans come as other local producers like Dana Gas, the Sharjah-based fuel producer that also operates in Kurdistan, also weigh up foreign listings. Executives argue that the UAE stock market is too small and too young to allow the share price to fully reflect the company's value.

In the planned restructuring, RAK Petroleum shareholders will be be issued shares in the to-be-created UK company.

Last year DNO, which is already listed in Oslo, said it would seek a second listing on another major Western exchange.

At the time, RAK Petroleum was considering diluting its stake in DNO. But a group of Scandinavian shareholders, saying that moves by RAK to sell DNO shares could depress the stock price and handicap a second listing, met with RAK Petroleum shareholders and successfully persuaded them not to sell.

RAK Petroleum has built up its stake in DNO over several years, ending with the merger in November 2011 that gave RAK Petroleum its status as top shareholder. Bijan Mossavar-Rahmani is chairman of DNO.

Last week, RAK Petroleum announced it had bought Mondoil, a producer with a stake in Cote d'Ivoire's biggest gasfield. Mr Mossavar-Rahmani was also chairman of Mondoil.

RAK's other assets, all now operated by DNO, include fields in Yemen, Oman, UAE, Iraqi Kurdistan and exploration rights in Tunisia and Somaliland.

Shares in DNO rose a tenth of a per cent to 10.12 Norwegian krone yesterday in Oslo.

ayee@thenational.ae