Egypt's Citadel says selling oil unit to Sea Dragon

Reuters, Monday 9 Jan 2012

Country's largest private equity firm will sell National Petroleum Company to Canadian energy developer for $147.5 million

Egyptian private equity firm Citadel Capital said on Monday it is selling National Petroleum Co Egypt (NPC Egypt) to Canadian-listed company Sea Dragon Energy Inc in a cash and stock deal valued at $147.5 million.

Sea Dragon, an exploration and development company, will pay $60 million in cash and issue 350 million shares to the Citadel fund which owns NPC Egypt, Golden Crescent Investments, at 25 cents per share, Citadel said in a statement.

"This is the first of several transactions to which we have alluded in recent months that will see Citadel Capital rationalise its portfolio through the divestiture of some non-core investments," Citadel's chairman and founder Ahmed Heikal said in the statement.

Sea Dragon is currently engaged in the exploration and development of two concessions in Egypt, the statement said.

Citadel, with more than $9 billion of investments under control, owns a 15.05 per cent direct stake in Golden Crescent and the rest is owned by limited partners. Sea Dragon and Golden Crescent expect the deal to close in late February or early March, the statement said.

Citadel's portfolio also includes Nile Valley Petroleum, an oil and gas exploration company in Sudan, and energy distribution group Taqa Arabia.

Egypt's popular uprising knocked confidence in the country's economy, sent inward investment tumbling and made it harder to raise money for new industrial projects.

Citadel held sale talks with Dubai firm Abraaj Capital last year but the talks fell through in July after Abraaj pulled out. The firm completed a $176 million rights issue in October.

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