Harvest Natural closes 1st step in Venezuela deal

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Associated Press

Posted on December 16, 2013 at 9:00 AM

Updated Monday, Dec 16 at 4:32 PM

HOUSTON (AP) — Shares of Harvest Natural Resources Inc. jumped Monday after the energy company said it closed the first of two transactions in a $400-million sale of its Venezuelan assets.

Houston-based Harvest Natural is selling all of its interests in the South American country through an agreement with Petroandina Resources Corp. NV and Pluspetrol Resources Corp. BV.

Harvest Natural said Monday the first transaction closed for a cash purchase price of $125 million. The company expects the second to close around the middle of the year, subject to approval from shareholders and the Venezuelan government.

It expects a total of about $330 million in proceeds, after taxes and transaction-related costs from the two deals. Harvest plans to use net proceeds of $122 million from the first transaction to pay its long-term debt. It will use remaining proceeds for working capital.

Harvest Natural said the buyer is acquiring its 32 percent stake in Petrodelta SA by purchasing HNR Energia BV's 80 percent interest in Harvest-Vinccler Dutch Holding BV through the two deals.

Harvest Natural's stock jumped nearly 27 percent, or $1.06, to $5 in premarket trading Monday. The shares had closed at $3.94 on Friday after rising nearly 8 percent. But the stock was still down more than 56 percent so far this year.

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