Africa Oil is Positioned for Sustainable Growth in The Years to Come

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Written By Joel Gbolade

Africa Oil (OTCPK) (TSX: AOI) has announced a strategic move to issue shares in exchange for the remaining interest in Prime that it does not already own.

This transaction promises to significantly enhance the company’s dividend policy and align it more closely with industry competitors.

Overview of the Prime Acquisition

Credits: DepositPhotos

The deal is expected to increase the dividend for existing shareholders and return free cash flow to shareholders, bringing Africa Oil’s policies in line with those of its industry peers.

Prime Financials: Africa Oil’s latest financial summary for Prime, reported in the first quarter of 2024, highlights the financial strength of the acquisition:

  • Interest in Prime: Africa Oil’s website indicated roughly 452 million shares outstanding at the end of the first quarter. Post-acquisition, if the new shareholder holds 35% of the outstanding shares, BTG will receive about 243 million shares. This issuance represents a 53% increase in shares, resulting in a doubling of cash flows, making the deal financially attractive.
  • Valuation: At the current stock price, management is acquiring more EBITDA and cash flow at roughly one times EBITDA, promising a swift return on investment.
  • Operational Efficiency: The acquisition could lead to a more efficient use of cash reserves, potentially reducing working capital requirements.

Strategic Impact of BTG Pactual as a Major Shareholder

BTG Pactual, a significant player in the energy sector, will become a major shareholder. This transition from the Lundin Group to BTG Pactual could unlock new growth opportunities for Africa Oil.

  • BTG Pactual’s Role: BTG facilitated the original acquisition of an interest in Prime, showcasing their strategic value. Their involvement likely signals a growth phase for Africa Oil as it transitions from an exploratory stage to a substantial offshore operator.

Financial and Operational Synergies

The combination of Africa Oil and Prime is poised to streamline operations and enhance growth prospects.

Growth Prospects:

  • Farm-Downs: Africa Oil has grown through farm-downs, making growth projects viable while giving up some interests.
  • Project Participation: The combined entity could better fund future offshore growth projects without needing to sell stakes to other operators.

Financial Metrics:

  • EBITDAX: Based on 2023 figures and ongoing drilling, the post-combination EBITDAX could reach $1 billion per year, facilitating participation in future projects without excessive borrowing or stake sales.
  • Cash Needs: Management has secured funding for numerous growth projects for the coming years, providing financial stability.

BTG Pactual Agreement and Shareholder Implications

A standstill agreement with BTG ensures that BTG will not sell shares for two years, maintaining stable trading volumes and preventing post-combination pricing weakness.

  • Control and Confidence: With roughly one-third of the shares, BTG effectively controls the company, providing a significant vote of confidence in current management and strategy.

Financial Outlook and Strategy

The post-acquisition balance sheet will maintain a conservative debt ratio, reducing financial duplication and utilizing cash reserves to repay debt and cut interest costs.

Balance Sheet:

  • Debt Ratio: Africa Oil aims to maintain a conservative debt ratio post-acquisition, focusing on financial health and operational efficiency.

Operational Strategy:

  • Income Diversification: While Nigeria remains a significant source of income, the company plans to expand into Namibia and South Africa, seeking higher valuations and more stable environments.

Risks and Considerations

Investors should be aware of several risks associated with this acquisition:

  • Geopolitical Risks: The primary income source from Nigeria comes with geopolitical risks, although offshore operations are somewhat insulated from onshore challenges.
  • Management Alignment: Any disagreement between management and BTG could impact the company’s strategy and performance.
  • Commodity Price Volatility: As an upstream company, Africa Oil is susceptible to the volatility of commodity prices, which could affect financial performance.
  • Key Personnel: The loss of key personnel could significantly impact the company’s prospects.


Credits: DepositPhotos

Africa Oil’s strategic acquisition of Prime’s remaining interest and the involvement of BTG Pactual as a major shareholder mark significant steps toward growth and financial stability.

The deal promises to enhance dividends and free cash flow for shareholders while positioning Africa Oil for future expansion. However, investors should remain mindful of the inherent risks, including geopolitical uncertainties and commodity price volatility.

With a strong management team and strategic alignment with BTG, Africa Oil is poised for substantial growth in the coming years.


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