September 7, 2018 / 6:44 AM / 2 months ago

UPDATE 3-EnQuest to issue discounted shares to buy Magnus oilfield

* Announces $138 mln rights issue to purchase stake from BP

* Net debt $1.97 bln at June 30

* Also borrows $175 million against Kraken cashflow

* Posts close to 50 pct jump in half-year profit

* Shares down about 13 pct (Recasts, adds detail, share price reaction)

By Shadia Nasralla

LONDON, Sept 7 (Reuters) - UK-focused oil company EnQuest is offering new discounted shares to buy out the Magnus oilfield and has borrowed money against 15 percent of its Kraken field as it seeks to reduce its debt pile of almost $2 billion.

EnQuest, which owns a quarter of Magnus, launched a $138 million rights issue on Friday to help it to buy the rest of the 12,000 barrel per day (bpd) North Sea field from BP, sending its share price tumbling by more than 13 percent.

If successful, the deal will bring 60 million barrels of reserves - or an additional 30 percent - to EnQuest’s portfolio and also increase its stakes in the Sullom Voe oil terminal, Ninian pipeline system and Northern Leg Gas pipeline, the company said.

The rights issue announcement came as EnQuest, which has a market value of about $590 million, reported a close to 50 percent jump in first-half post-tax profit to $43 million thanks to its Kraken field boosting overall output.

EnQuest also said it had agreed to ringfence 15 percent of Kraken for Oz (Och-Ziff) Management in exchange for $175 million, to be paid back within five years.

First-half production of 31,000 bpd at Kraken was slightly below expectations but it has since picked up to as much as 36,000 bpd. The company had been seeking to sell a 20 percent stake.

DEBT PAYMENT

The Kraken money will help EnQuest to pay back nearly $200 million of debt due next month, Chief Executive Officer Amjad Bseisu told Reuters.

EnQuest is proposing a three-for-seven rights issue at 0.21 pounds ($0.2717) per new ordinary share, equating to a 45.6 percent discount to Thursday’s closing price. Bseisu said shareholders, who can vote on the cash call on Oct. 1, have been supportive of the move.

The company’s shares slid more than 13 percent in early trade to their lowest since July. At 1012 GMT the shares were down 12.7 percent at 33.7 pence, against a 0.7 percent fall for the sector index.

The BP deal will cost about $300 million, with $100 million to be paid in cash from the rights issue. The rest will be funded by a loan from BP that will be repaid from the net cash flow from the 75 percent stake over five years.

Once the loan repaid, EnQuest will pay BP half of the cash flow from the 75 percent stake up to a cap of $600 million.

Based on the initial acquisition of its 25 percent stake last year, EnQuest has the right to buy the stake from BP by Jan. 15 next year, with the deal backdated to Jan. 1 2017.

The rights issue wil be underwritten by JP Morgan and Bank of America Merrill Lynch. ($1 = 0.7730 pounds) (Editing by Mark Potter, Jason Neely and David Goodman)

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