Samara Capital completes open offer for Asian Oilfield, ups stake to 56.32%

Private equity firm Samara Capital Partners has increased its stakeholding in Asian Oilfield Services Ltd to 56.32 per cent, after completing an open offer. The open offer did not find many takers and the PE investor could buy just 0.03 per cent stake from the public.

Earlier in September, Samara had announced its plan to increase its shareholding in mineral exploration and seismic services firm via a preferential allotment which triggered the mandatory open offer to buy up to 26 per cent more.

In the open offer, Samara had offered Rs 21.50 per share to buy up to 5.8 million equity shares from the public shareholders of Asian Oilfield. However, it could manage to buy only 5,900 equity shares or 0.03 per cent stake from the shareholders.

Samara had first invested around Rs 28 crore in Asian Oilfield in late 2007, at the peak of the stock market bull-run, to pick around 13.3 per cent. It later hiked its holding with a preferential allotment worth Rs 25 crore in 2010. This also triggered an open offer which did not find many takers.

The PE firm is now the promoter of the listed firm and with the preferential allotment few weeks ago had committed additional Rs 15 crore taking total investment to around Rs 68 crore. The PE firm’s existing investment is deep underwater with current value of its stake pegged at just around Rs 42 crore.

Asian Oilfield is a reservoir imaging company, offering a suite of geophysical services specialising in land and well seismic services targeted at the onshore oil & gas and mining industries. Its portfolio of services include 2D and 3D seismic data acquisition, processing and interpretation, topographic survey, continuous core drilling for mineral and CBM exploration, wire-line logging and directional core drilling to target shallow horizons.

Its revenues have stagnated since Samara became the largest shareholder of the company and the firm has been making losses ever since. For the year ended March 31, 2013, it had revenues of Rs 50 crore with a net loss of Rs 10 crore.

Samara, founded by former Goldman and Citigroup executive Sumeet Narang, prefers to invest in consumer products, services & retail; IT & BPO; financial services; pharmaceuticals & healthcare services; infrastructure, including power, telecom and roads etc. The firm reportedly hit first close of its second fund at $150 million recently.

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