Ashurst, Freshfields, Simmons steer Swedish-UK energy merger

Ashurst, Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer and Simmons & Simmons have taken leading roles on the merger of parts of existing Swedish and UK oil and gas entities to form a new listed company, EnQuest.

Steven Fox
Steven Fox

A large, multidisciplinary team at Ashurst is acting for EnQuest on both the ­merger and the dual listing on the London and Stockholm exchanges, due to take place next month.

The team was led by ­corporate partner Steven Fox on the equity capital markets aspects, finance partner Huw Thomas on the debt side and energy partner Jan Sanders.
The company, which is expected to have a market capitalisation of between $1bn-$1.4bn (£660m-930m), will combine the continental shelf oil and gas
assets of Petrofac and Swedish company Lundin.

Petrofac turned to Freshfields corporate partner Gareth Stephenson for advice, while Lundin used in-house counsel Jeff ­Fountain.

Simmons capital markets partner Chris Horton is ­acting for the broker ­JPMorgan Cazenove on the dual IPOs, which are ­scheduled to launch on 6 April. Under normal rules, a company would have to be in operation for three years before it was allowed to list, but EnQuest will be ­admitted to the exchanges as its underlying assets date ­further back. Fox said the deal threw up new challenges for legal advisers.

”There were interesting issues that you’d not normally get in most M&As,” he said. “We had to build bottom-up. Most ­companies [about to list] will already have a ­structure, but in this instance they needed ­everything new.”

The new entity hopes to take advantage of the downscaling of North Sea ­operations of some of the major existing operators, such as Shell.

Another upstream oil producer, Warburg Pincus-backed Fairfield Energy, is also understood to be ­looking at launching an IPO in the coming months.