Aabar Sells Drilling Services Unit to Focus on E&P

Aabar Petroleum has reached an agreement with GulfCap Group for the sale of its wholly owned drilling services subsidiary, Dalma Energy LLC, for a debt free cash adjusted enterprise value of approximately US$446 million (subject to working capital adjustments) following a strategic review of Aabar’s activities.

Under the terms of the transaction, 100% of Aabar’s interest in Dalma will be transferred to GulfCap, a subsidiary of GulfCap FZC. The sale price for Dalma was established following a bid process in which a number of offers were received.

The sale is conditional on, inter alia, the approval and consent of the shareholders of Aabar at an Extraordinary General Meeting. On 29 July 2007, the Board of Aabar published a notice to all shareholders convening an Extraordinary General Meeting on 19 August 2007 to seek shareholder approval for the divestment.

“Since the acquisition of Dalma in 2005, we have focused on upgrading and expanding the rig fleet and entering new markets. By the end of this year, Dalma will operate 22 rigs in five countries in the Middle East, North Africa and Southern Asia. Aabar will now concentrate its efforts into growth in the upstream oil and gas sector, and we believe Dalma’s future is secured with GulfCap who will continue to invest and grow the business. For our shareholders, this sale represents a healthy return on our investment over the last two years,” said Aabar’s Chairman Sohail Al Mazrui.

Oman-headquartered Dalma operates 22 land drilling rigs in Algeria, India, Oman, Qatar and Saudi Arabia. The company’s fleet comprises seven light rigs of less than 1000 horsepower (“hp”), four medium rigs of 1500 hp and 11 heavy rigs of 2000 hp. The company offers a variety of services from shallow depth drilling and workover operations to drilling and completing deep gas wells in excess of 5,000 meters.

“The outlook for Dalma’s business is robust with key clients in Oman and Saudi Arabia planning extensive drilling campaigns in the coming years, and we expect rig utilisation rates to remain high. However, Aabar’s strategic objective is to build our core business in oil and gas exploration and production where we consider our greatest strengths reside in both management and technical expertise. This realignment will allow both businesses to receive the investment and management direction they require to release their full potential,” said David Woodward, Aabar’s Chief Executive Officer.

“Building on the expertise, assets and knowledge-base of Aabar’s exploration and production portfolio offers the greatest potential returns to our shareholders, and the divestment of Dalma will allow us to re-double our efforts to establish an independent oil and gas company with a truly global reach,” Woodward added.

Suleiman Shahbal, Chief Executive Officer of GulfCap, said Dalma is an important acquisition for the company. “We see this as a platform for our investments in the oil and gas sector. We expect to expand Dalma's operations into offshore drilling. We intend to develop Dalma into a fully integrated oil services company. Our shareholders are all major players in oil industry and are fully supportive of our strategy. We believe that Dalma's management team are exceptionally well qualified and positioned to execute our planned strategy.”


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