Noble, Barclays Work on $1 Billion Tamar Stake Sale

  • Noble seeking to spin off stake into SPC, pay dividend
  • Sale talks value Tamar gas field up to 20% more than last year

Noble Energy Inc. is working with Barclays Plc on the sale of a 7.5 percent stake in the offshore Tamar natural gas field, according to people with knowledge of the matter.

The company and its advisers -- which include another unidentified bank -- are approaching institutional investors for the sale, which may be worth between $1 billion and $1.1 billion, the people said, asking not to be identified as the talks aren’t public. 

Noble is seeking to convert the stake into a special-purpose company and raise debt totaling about 50 percent to 60 percent of its value, one of the people said. This would be paid to shareholders as a dividend, the person said.

At these levels, the entire Tamar field is being valued as high as $14.7 billion, or an increase of 20 percent from a previous valuation. Noble sold a 3.5 percent working interest in Tamar to Harel Insurance Co. Ltd. last year for $431 million, valuing the field at $12.3 billion.

Noble still owns 32.5 percent of the field, which has supplied the vast majority of Israel’s natural gas since 2013. Under an agreement with the government, the company must reduce its stake to 25 percent to promote competition in the industry.

Other major shareholders include billionaire Yitzchak Teshuva’s Delek Group Ltd. which must sell its entire stake -- 31.25 percent -- as part of the regulatory framework. The company is considering options including an initial public offering in Europe or the U.S.

Isramco Negev 2 LP holds 28.75 percent.

Spokesmen for Noble and Barclays declined to comment.

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