Puma Buys InterOil's New Guinea Downstream Assets

By Dow Jones Business News, 
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SINGAPORE--Puma Energy has bought InterOil Corp.'s ( IOC ) downstream fuel-refining and marketing businesses in Papua New Guinea for $525.6 million, as the Singapore-based firm seeks to expand in regions with growing fuel demand.

The deal is Puma Energy's first investment in Papua New Guinea, making it a major fuel supplier to the country.

Puma Energy is taking over the Napa Napa refinery at Port Moresby that processes about 28,000 barrels of crude oil a day, a network of 52 service stations, and 30 fuel-storage depots, terminals and aviation-fuel sites, the companies said Monday.

The acquisition will be fully funded by Puma Energy's existing bank facilities and available cash. Puma Energy will be allowed to use InterOil's downstream brand for up to 12 months and the handover of operations and staff will begin immediately, the companies said.

Puma Energy, in which commodities trader Trafigura Beheer BV has an approximately 49% stake, has been expanding its fuel-marketing operations in regions with growing fuel demand such as Africa, Australia and Southeast Asia.

New York-listed InterOil said the deal "follows an unsolicited approach from Puma Energy and a strategic review by InterOil of options for the best allocation of capital."

Interoil, which has liquefied natural-gas discoveries in Papua New Guinea, will focus on its upstream or exploration- and-production activities in the country, and the sale to Puma provides capital to fund them, its Chief Operating Officer Jon Ozturgut said in a statement.

In December, InterOil and France's Total SA signed a multi billion-dollar deal to develop two of Papua New Guinea's largest undeveloped natural-gas fields and build a gas-export facility.

Puma Energy has been picking up fuel-marketing assets from oil majors like Exxon Mobil Corp., BP PLC and Chevron Corp., which are exiting oil-refining and distribution businesses to focus on core oil-and-gas production.

Last year, Puma Energy bought the fuel-distribution networks of Australian fuel marketers Central Combined Group, Ausfuel and Neumann Petroleum, giving it direct access to the region's markets.

Write to Eric Yep at eric.yep@wsj.com

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