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Private markets have been good to Griffiths Energy

Griffiths Energy plans IPO, launches probe


Corruption allegations iced Griffiths Energy International Inc.'s initial public offering aspirations. But since then, the energy company has raised almost as much money in private markets as it hoped for when plotting its public ambitions.

The company scrounged up $173.6-million through what it called a "pre-IPO" convertible bond offering Friday. Add that to the $125-million in equity it raised in March and Griffiths is just shy of its $300-million IPO target – all while the bribery allegations linger.

Griffiths said the convertible bonds, which sport an equity conversion price of $6.07 (U.S.) per share and mature Sept. 30, 2017, come with a coupon of 12 per cent per annum, capitalized prior to an IPO. That means interest on the debt is not paid in cash prior to the IPO, but instead added to the principal amount of the bonds. The company has not revived its IPO intentions.

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Griffiths, which needed the cash to develop its oil projects in Chad, used its bond announcement to keep hopes alive for an IPO.

"These funds will enable us to simultaneously bring our Badila and Mangara fields into production early 2013, in line with our first oil commitments to the government of Chad and strongly position Griffiths for our upcoming IPO," Gary Guidry, the company's chief executive, said in a statement.

"Upon closing of the bonds, the company will have sufficient flexibility around its current capital program and will continue to plan for an IPO in the future," the Calgary-based company said.

Even the bonds' unusual name – a "pre-IPO convertible bond" – indicates the company still wants to join the ranks of the Toronto Stock Exchange.

Griffiths' internal bribery investigation reviewed $2-million worth of consulting contracts. The internal review ended in May but the company did not release its findings. Instead, it said it planned to turn over information to unnamed authorities. Griffiths has stayed mum ever since.

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About the Author

Carrie Tait joined the Globe in January, 2011, mainly reporting on energy from the Calgary bureau. Previously, she spent six years working for the National Post in both Calgary and Toronto. She has a master’s degree in journalism from the University of Western Ontario and a bachelor’s degree in political studies from the University of Saskatchewan. More


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