Noble, Barclays said to work on $1 billion Tamar stake sale

By Yaacov Benmeleh on 2/15/2017

TEL AVIV (Bloomberg) -- Noble Energy Inc. is working with Barclays Plc on the sale of a 7.5% stake in the offshore Tamar natural gas field, according to people with knowledge of the matter.

The company and its advisers -- which include another unidentified bank -- are approaching institutional investors for the sale, which may be worth between $1 billion and $1.1 billion, the people said, asking not to be identified as the talks aren’t public. 

Noble is seeking to convert the stake into a special-purpose company and raise debt totaling about 50% to 60% of its value, one of the people said. This would be paid to shareholders as a dividend, the person said.

At these levels, the entire Tamar field is being valued as high as $14.7 billion, or an increase of 20% from a previous valuation. Noble sold a 3.5% working interest in Tamar to Harel Insurance Co. Ltd. last year for $431 million, valuing the field at $12.3 billion.

Noble still owns 32.5% of the field, which has supplied the vast majority of Israel’s natural gas since 2013. Under  an agreement with the government, the company must reduce its stake to 25% to promote competition in the industry.

Other major shareholders include billionaire Yitzchak Teshuva’s Delek Group Ltd. which must sell its entire stake -- 31.25% -- as part of the regulatory framework. The company is considering options including an initial public offering in Europe or the U.S.

Isramco Negev 2 LP holds 28.75%.

Spokesmen for Noble and Barclays declined to comment.

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