UK-BASED Ophir Energy will acquire Asia-focused Salamander Energy after it accepted a scrip offer which values the group at about £314 million.

Salamander shareholders will receive 0.5719 new Ophir shares from every Salamander share they hold, leaving Salamander shareholders with about 20.9 per cent of Ophir once the transaction is completed.

Salamander said the offer valued its shares at about 115.9 pence per share – a 44.5% premium to its last closing price.

In an announcement, Salamander said the combined businesses would be well-positioned to accelerate exploration activity in Salamander’s licences in offshore Thailand, and in Ophir’s recently acquired acreage in Myanmar and Indonesia, while continuing to pursue the significant opportunity set in South East Asia.

The combination would provide shareholders with exposure to 21 production, development and exploration blocks in South East Asia, as well as to Ophir’s extensive footprint in Africa.

One of Salamander’s non-executive directors will join the Ophir board as a non-executive director once the transaction was completed.

The termination of a deal for Malalysia’s Sona Petroleum to acquire an effective 40% working interest in the Bualuang oilfield and the surrounding B8/38 and G4/50 concessions, both in the Gulf of Thailand, is a condition of the deal.

The stake sale had been agreed in June, but this had not been finalised at the time the offer was made. Officials at Sona are understood to be keen to renegotiate the deal.

Owners of a 27.9% stake in Salamander, including the directors and two major shareholders, have voted in favour of the Ophir offer, to the exclusion of Sona.

Salamander chairman Charles Jamieson said Salamander shareholders would retain an exposure to future upsides in the company’s portfolio through the transaction.

“The Board of Salamander unanimously believes that the Ophir offer represents an attractive opportunity to participate in an enlarged African-Asian (exploration and production ) company with a strong balance sheet and enhanced operating capability, and at a premium to the market value of Salamander prior to the start of the offer period.”