Malaysia’s Sona Abandons Plan to Buy Salamander’s Thai Assets

Malaysia’s Sona Petroleum Bhd. abandoned its plan to buy a stake in two Thai oil and gas blocks, as companies reset how they value energy assets in the wake of a plunge in crude prices.

Sona, created in 2011 as a vehicle to purchase oil and gas fields, agreed in June to buy 40 percent of London-based Salamander Energy Plc’s Thai blocks for $281 million. The assets have been the subject of a tussle with Ophir Energy Plc, which separately agreed to buy Salamander on condition that it retain the blocks in the Gulf of Thailand.

Sona said in a statement today that it had agreed with Salamander to terminate their agreement, which would have been its first purchase. The transaction is the latest deal to be pulled after a 59 percent slump in the value of Brent crude since June.

Sound Oil Plc yesterday withdrew its offer to buy assets from Canada’s Antrim Energy Inc., while Dragon Oil Plc pulled its offer for Petroceltic International Plc in December.

Sona’s announcement comes just ahead of the deadline for Ophir’s takeover of Salamander to be registered later today. Ophir said yesterday it had agreement from 28 percent of Salamander’s shareholders to accept its all-stock offer for the company at the expense of the Sona transaction.

Sona, which raised 550 million ringgit ($153 million) in an initial public offering in 2013, said it is still keen to buy Salamander’s Thai assets and may make a revised offer after Ophir acquires the company.

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