Puma Enters Papua New Guinea With $526 Million InterOil Deal

Puma Energy Holdings Pte acquired InterOil Corp. (IOC)’s oil refinery, service stations and fuel terminals in Papua New Guinea for $526 million, marking its first investment in the Pacific nation.

Singapore-based Puma Energy, whose largest shareholder is commodity trader Trafigura Beheer BV, is also seeking to expand in Indonesia and build new fuel terminals in Myanmar, Ray Taylor, its general manager for Australia and Papua New Guinea, said today in a phone interview.

“We’re in growth mode for sure, particularly in this region,” Taylor said. “We are open to new market entries and organic growth.”

The deal with InterOil will allow Puma Energy to tap Papua New Guinea’s growth and link the country’s fuel market to its global operations, according to a statement from the company. Puma became Australia’s biggest independent fuel retailer after acquisitions valued at more than $800 million last year and has said it plans to add storage and service-station networks.

InterOil said it will use the proceeds to fund its natural gas exploration business as it eyes a second export project in Papua New Guinea with partner Total SA of France.

The sale follows an unsolicited approach by Puma, InterOil said in a separate statement. The businesses include the Napa Napa refinery in Port Moresby that processes about 28,000 barrels a day, 52 service stations, and 30 fuel depots, terminals and aviation sites, according to its statement. The purchases will be funded by existing bank facilities and cash.

Puma wants to make further investment in the Papua New Guinea oil refinery and views it “as something in the portfolio for the long term,” Taylor said.

Puma Energy, formed in 1997 and active in about 45 countries, and Vitol Group, the world’s biggest independent oil trader, are seeking to develop fuel-storage facilities and retail businesses in neighboring Australia as companies such as Royal Dutch Shell Plc close refineries.

To contact the reporter on this story: James Paton in Sydney at jpaton4@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Jason Rogers at jrogers73@bloomberg.net Abhay Singh

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