China’s Geo-Jade Petroleum buys Albania-focused Bankers Petroleum

China’s Geo-Jade Petroleum buys Albania-focused Bankers Petroleum
By bne IntelliNews March 21, 2016

Canada-based oil company Bankers Petroleum, one of the biggest foreign investors in Albania, said on March 20 it has agreed to be acquired by affiliates of Chinese oil and gas exploration company Geo-Jade Petroleum Corporation. The agreement values Bankers at approximately CAD575mn (€393mn) before the assumption of Bankers’ outstanding indebtedness.

The deal follows the exit of Canada-based Petromanas from the Albanian market; the company announced in February it had struck a deal to sell its Albanian assets to Shell. TransAtlantic Petroleum has also announced plans to sell its Albanian operations.

Companies operating in the offshore Adriatic, along with other regions, have been hit by low oil prices. Bankers said on March 11 that it turned to a net loss of $3.6mn in 2015 from a $128.8mn profit a year earlier, as oil revenues halved. The company has also been affected by a $75mn tax dispute with the Albanian government, although the two sides agreed in February to suspend arbitration and instead appoint an international expert audit team to resolve the issue.

Bankers has operated the Patos-Marinza oilfield since 2004 and has a 100% interest in both the Kucova oilfield and Exploration Block F in Albania.

In a statement on its website, the company said that all its issued and outstanding shares will be purchased by Alberta and Charter Power Investment Limited for C$2.2 per share.

The agreement has received unanimous approval from Bankers' board of directors, and is expected to be approved by Bankers’ shareholders at a meeting to be held before the end of May.

"The proposed transaction provides Bankers with the opportunity to return value to our shareholders at a significant premium to the current market valuation, while offering Bankers added financial resources to accelerate our activity in Albania and capitalize on the potential created by the current commodity price environment," David French, president and CEO of Bankers, said.

He added that the transaction will generate substantial economic benefits for Albania and the local communities in which Bankers operates.

Following the transaction, the purchaser will support Bankers' leadership and employee base to capitalise on the experience and depth of the Bankers’ team, Bankers said in the statement.

Bankers' corporate and technical headquarters will remain based in Calgary, Canada, with operational offices in Albania, Hungary and Romania.