Firms act as Perth entrepreneur doubles down on resources exploration biz

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Two firms acted as a private equity outfit acquired a majority stake in a major exploration business in the country.

Herbert Smith Freehills advised Australian private equity fund manager Allegro Funds in buying a majority stake in mining exploration business Terrex Seismic, which was advised by Corrs Chambers Westgarth. Financial details of the deal were not disclosed.

Perth businessman Steve Tobin sold the stake in Terrex Seismic, which offers seismic and surveying services to oil and gas and mining companies, as he doubles down on the business.

Tobin told Business News Western Australia that he is focusing on Terrex and other interests in the oil and gas space again because he expects resurgence in oil and gas exploration. In addition to selling the Terrex stake, Tobin has also put up his Aravina Estate winery on the market for up to $20m.

“We needed a fair amount of cash to secure a new seismic acquisition system,” he said.

The system’s global launch will be at the ongoing APPEA 2017 Oil & Gas Conference and Exhibition in Perth.

Tobin remains a major shareholder and senior executive in Terrex Seismic. His holdings are reduced to just under 50% of the company, he said.

The HSF corporate team was led by partner Mark Currell, who was supported by senior associate Jacob Kahwaji and solicitor Lucy Gemmell. Partner Melita Cottrell led the finance aspects of the transaction with the support of senior associate Adam Jeffrey and solicitor Calvin Lau.

Allegro is a long-time HSF client. The global law firm advised Allegro on its acquisition of the master franchisee licence for Pizza Hut in Australia from US-based parent company Yum! Brands, its acquisition of pizza chain Eagle Boys out of administration, and its acquisition of specialist drilling services business JSW Australia out of administration. This is Allegro’s second investment in mining services, after it bought late last year.

The Corrs Chambers Westgarth team was led by partners Christian Owen, Simon Reid, and Mark Payne.

Melita Cottrell

Mark Currell

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