Legal Business Blogs

Post Excalibur litigation victory, Gulf Keystone enters the main market led by Memery Crystal

The sometimes nail-biting growth of independent oil and gas exploration companies was illustrated this week with the entry onto the London Stock Exchange (LSE) of Gulf Keystone Petroleum, led by City firm Memery Crystal, just months after the company successfully defeated a $1.6bn claim by Excalibur Ventures in one of the biggest cases of 2013.

Formerly AIM-listed Gulf Keystone, which is focused on exploration in the Kurdistan region of Iraq, had announced production of 10,000 barrels a day from its Shaikan facility and a target of 40,000 barrels in 2014 from a second facility expected to begin production in the second quarter, but faced a possible cash shortfall of around $20m by the end of May.

Its admission this week onto the offical list of the LSE, led by corporate partner Nick Davis, and a team including corporate associate Kieran Stone and corporate assistant Melanie Jory, will enable Gulf Keystone greater debt financing options, with the oil company reported to be planning to tap the bond market shortly.

The company is not raising any funds or issuing any new common shares in connection with its admission.

The listing comes after Gulf Keystone, represented by Memery Crystal, successfully defended a $1.6bn claim by Excalibur Ventures over the rights to exploit and develop the fields in Kurdistan, for which the City firm was named dispute resolution team of the year at the 2014 Legal Business Awards.

Highly rated for its work acting on small to medium-sized floats, Memery Crystal has acted for Gulf Keystone for over a decade on a number of significant transactions, including its admission to AIM in 2004 and a series of equity and debt financings totaling over $1bn.

Davis commented: ‘Memery Crystal congratulates Gulf on its admission to the official list and main market. It has been a pleasure to assist with its remarkable development over the past decade, and we look forward to continuing our relationship as Gulf enters this exciting new phase of its growth.’

The listing follows a number of high-profile retail floats on the main market, including Pets at Home and Poundland, which made their LSE debut earlier this month, while Just Eat also confirmed its intention to float on 17 March, gifting Herbert Smith Freehills (HSF) and Linklaters with a high profile corporate mandate valued at between £700m to £900m.