Australia Markets open in 2 hrs 38 mins

Woodside in $2.5b raising for acquisition

 

Woodside Petroleum has announced a $2.5 billion rights share raising after agreeing to buy an additional 50 per cent stake in the Scarborough gas field, off the WA Coast.

The energy giant already holds a 25 per cent stake field after it snapped up half of BHP Billiton's interest there in 2016.

It will now take majority control of the Carnarvon Basin-based field after acquiring global energy giant ExxonMobil's entire 50 per cent stake for $US444 million plus a future payment of $US300 million contingent on a final investment decision to develop the field.

Woodside chief executive Peter Coleman said the deal would allow the company to develop new supply that is likely to be materially value-accretive.

"The acquisition of the additional interest in Scarborough provides greater alignment, control and certainty over a low-cost, high value opportunity ahead of a global LNG supply gap," he said.

Under the agreement with ExxonMobil, Woodside will acquire an additional 50 per cent interest in main WA-1-R block as well as take 50 per cent interest in WA-61-R, WA-62-R and WA-63-R blocks.

The target for completion of the deal is the end of March.

The deal takes Woodside closer to a plan to pipe gas from the Scarborough field to its Pluto liquefied natural gas plant at the onshore Burrup Hub in WA.

"Our Burrup Hub concept is advanced by our announcement today," Mr Coleman said.

Woodside said it will raise $2.5 billion in fresh equity from shareholders to help fund the acquisition as well as developments off Western Australia and Senegal.

Under the rights entitlement offer, the company is offering one new Woodside share for every nine shares held.

The issue price of $27 per share represents a 10.3 per cent discount to the dividend-adjusted price of $30.11 at which Woodside shares closed on Tuesday.

The institutional portion of the equity raising is expected to be completed on Thursday, with the shares expected to remain in a trading halt until February 19.

Woodside also announced an 18 per cent increase in full-year profit to $US1.02 billion ($A1.3 billion), helped by improved market conditions and higher oil prices.

But the energy giant's revenue declined 4.1 per cent to $US3.91 billion for the year to December 31, and it declared a fully-franked final dividend of US49 cents per share, the same as last year.

FY PROFIT LIFT FOR WOODSIDE:

* Full-year net profit up 18pct to $US1.02b ($A1.3b)

* Revenue down 4.1pct to $US3.91b ($A4.97)

* Final dividend steady at 49 US cents (A62c), fully franked