DataRoom AM: Apache energiser

A number of big local players are likely gearing up to take a look at Apache’s oil and gas assets, while Super A-Mart could soon hit ASX boards.

Apache’s entire $6 billion to $12bn suite of gas and oil assets in Western Australia is on the market as the US-based group weighs a demerger that could see the creation of a new ASX-listed company. By June next year the firm is hoping to have directed all its attentions back to its US assets, with any international operations not sold before then likely to be bundled into a US and/or ASX listing.

It is believed Origin EnergySantos and Seven Group will all look closely at the WA assets, while Woodside Petroleum is a front runner for the 50 per cent stake in the Kitimat liquid natural gas project in Canada. The interest of Seven and Santos, however, is complicated by legal action with Apache.

An Apache IPO mightn’t be the only fresh ASX listing in the energy and resources space as B2 Gold’s all-scrip takeover of ASX-listed Papillon Resources could see the enlarged group list in Australia. According to The Australian Financial Review, strong appetite from Papillon shareholders has led to a rethink that may result in Canada’s B2 pursuing a dual-listing.

Elsewhere, the AFR reports furniture chain Super A-Mart could hit ASX boards in the first quarter of 2015 as owners Quadrant Private Equity and Ironbridge mull a $600 million listing. Ironbridge paid $500m for Super A-Mart in 2006, while Quadrant has since claimed 60 per cent for a valuation closer to $200m.

Education group Evocca College is another with IPO potential, though the AFR reports it is first testing the appetite of private equity suitors. Details of a potential $600m auction have reportedly landed on the desks of Providence Equity PartnersBaring Private Equity and Pacific Equity Partners, but a float still seems a more probable outcome.

The news comes as Orica reportedly readies for a decision on the $1bn demerger of its chemicals division by November, while forex broker Pepperstone pushes out its IPO plans until 2015.

In infrastructure, the $6bn privatisation of the Port of Melbourne may not get underway until early next year, but Hastings Funds Management has already got the jump on its competitors, according to the AFR. Hastings has teamed with Kuwait’s Wren House Infrastructure Management, while the Future FundQICIFM Investors and AustralianSuper are among a long list of prospective suitors.

In property, Cbus Property has completed the second part of its Melbourne sell-off, offloading National Australia Bank’s home at Docklands to AMP Capital’s Wholesale Office Fund for $434m. The deal follows Cbus’s divestment of the CBW properties this week for $608m to GPT.

In finance, broking deals remain a hot topic, as Patersons Securities reveals it has held talks with CLSA over a strategic tie-up. The report in the AFR follows the breakdown of merger talks between Wilson HTM and Shaw Stockbroking earlier this week.

In resources, analysts at Wells Fargo have rebuked reports of a $1bn valuation for Cliffs Natural Resources’ Australian iron ore assets, with $300m-$400m seen as a more likely outcome. The US-based Cliffs recently hired Jefferies Group to run the sale.

Finally, Asian private equity firm Navis Capital Partners has raised its exposure to café chain Dôme Coffees Australia to as much as $100m, while automotive auctioneer Pickles Auctions has claimed a 10 per stake in inventory clearance firm Tiger Asset Group for an undisclosed sum, according to the AFR.

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