Hardy dumps HOEC for better offer from Invenire

Vol 22, PW 20 (25 Jul 19) People & Policy

UK-listed Hardy Oil looks set to dump BSE-listed HOEC after receiving a better offer for its Indian subsidiary Hardy Exploration & Production (India) Inc (HEPI) from Chennai-based oil and gas start-up Invenire Energy.

Hardy announced on July 15 that Invenire, led by ex-HOEC managing director Manish Maheshwari, has offered $3m cash for Hardy's stakes in the PY-3 (18%), CY-OS/2 (75%) and GS-01 (10%) assets held by (HEPI) - exactly double ($1.5m) agreed in a conditional share purchase agreement with HOEC, led by current managing director Pandarinathan Elango, announced on July 1. Hardy said, "the Board unanimously believes it is in the best interests of the Company (Hardy) to proceed with the sale of HEPI to Invenire" adding it would be calling an Extraordinary General Meeting (EGM) "no later than 30 September 2019" to win shareholder approval and that failure to close the (Invenire) deal would be, "in breach of the Directors' fiduciary duties."

Hardy said it hopes to close the deal with Invenire "no later than October 7." Invenire's imminent acquisition of HEPI marks a remarkable breakthrough for the Chennai-based oil and gas newcomer, incorporated less than three years ago on September 2, 2016 and promoted by clothing manufacturer Meridian Apparels, run by the Chennai-based Saraogi family.

Maheshwari, also a former CEO of Essar Oil's E&P business, joined Invenire as director on September 27, 2018. Before Essar, he was MD of HOEC and before that with Tata Petrodyne.