For immediate release: 26 March 2012
(“Niche” or the “Company”)
Update Re. Proposed Acquisition
Further to the announcement of 13 December 2011, Niche, the oil and gas focused investment company, is pleased to update shareholders with respect to the potential acquisition of the entire issued share capital of Oman Resources Limited (the “Oman Transaction”) and announces that the Company has agreed non-binding commercial terms with Arar Petrol ve Gaz AUPAS (“Arar”) under which either Niche or Oman Resources Limited (“Oman”) would acquire Arar’s 50% interest in the four petroleum licence blocks (the “Blocks”) held in partnership with Oman (the “Arar Transaction”). Successful completion of the Arar Transaction combined with the completion of the Oman Transaction would result in the Niche group of companies holding a 100% interest in the Blocks.
Oman has established a valuable foothold in the Turkish oil and gas market by farming in for a 50% interest in four petroleum licence blocks. Three blocks, numbered AR/ARR/4396, AR/ARR/4395 and AR/ARR/4394, are situated in the Iskenderun Basin, close to the Eastern Mediterranean Sea, whilst AR/ARR/4077 is situated in the Tuz Golu Basin in the Konya region. The blocks are operated by Arar in which Niche acquired a 5% shareholding in 2011.
The Blocks contain multiple gas discoveries, some of which have near term production potential. Senergy (GB) Ltd carried out independent evaluations of recoverable hydrocarbons across the Blocks in June and October 2011 which identified gas reserves and contingent and prospective resources.
Each of Oman and Arar have agreed an exclusivity period during which they have agreed not to negotiate or discuss the sale of any interest in the licences described above to any party other than Niche. It is envisaged that the Arar Transaction, subject to consent of the Panel and shareholder approval, would result in Arar’s Managing Director, Mr Fatih Alpay, having a controlling interest in the Company and that Mr Alpay, who has 30 years experience drilling as an independent contractor/operator, would be appointed to the board of Niche along with a number of further management changes.
The proposed Oman Transaction and Arar Transaction would constitute a Reverse Takeover for the purposes of the AIM Rules and would therefore be subject to shareholder approval. It is expected that any transaction would involve a fundraising. The Company requested a temporary suspension of trading in its shares on 13 December 2011 until such time as it publishes an Admission Document.
Niche, Oman Resources and Arar are working together to conclude the Oman Transaction and the Arar Transaction as soon as practicable and each of the parties has instructed solicitors to prepare the associated documentation.
The Company will make a further announcement when appropriate but it should be noted that, at this stage, Niche can give no assurances that either the Oman Transaction or the Arar Transaction will be successfully completed.
Stuart Thomas, Executive Chairman of Niche, commented:
“Following extensive discussions in recent weeks I am delighted that the transactions have been agreed in principle as we move closer to delivering Niche ownership of a number of attractive hydrocarbon assets onshore Turkey.”
Towfik Al Swaidi, Director of Oman Resources, said:
“We are pleased to be working with Niche and Arar to deliver a transaction that we believe brings significant value to all parties.”
Fatih Alpay, Managing Director of Arar, added:
“Arar welcomes the full engagement and commitment of the Niche board in our collective efforts to conclude a mutually beneficial transaction that will align the interests of all stakeholders in the four Blocks.”
The Niche Group plc
Tel. +44 (0)1491 629609
Daniel Stewart mp; Co. Plc – Nominated Advisor and Joint Broker
Paul Shackleton or Emma Earl
Tel. +44 (0)20 7776 6550
Tel. +44 (0)20 7920 2340