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Vista’s Goal: ‘Latin American Champion’ for Oil, Gas Sector, Says CEO

Mexico’s first independent oil and gas company since energy reforms were instituted four years ago began trading Friday following a successful public offering for $650 million.

As expected, Vista Oil & Gas SA de CV on Thursday launched an initial public offering (IPO) under “VISTA” on Mexico’s stock exchange, Bolsa Mexicano de Valores SAB de CV (BMV).

Vista initially expected to raise $500 million by selling 50 million units at $10/unit, the maximum allowed. However, it sharply beat expectations, selling about 65 million units.

"Financial markets have supported our vision of Vista," said CEO Miguel Galuccio, who formerly led Argentina’s YPF SA.

Backed by Riverstone Capital and Galuccio, Vista filed an IPO prospectus in June to operate as a special purpose acquisition vehicle (SPAC), Mexico’s first. The focus is on Latin America, and specifically, Mexico, Argentina, Brazil and Colombia.

The first independent exploration and production (E&P) company to be listed on BMV since energy reforms were adopted drew about half of its first-day investors from Mexico, including from pension funds. The remainder of the initial investments are from abroad, including from the United States.

Under rules governing SPACs, acquisitions have to be made within two years. Galuccio said in an interview he does not expect it to take that long.

He told the Financial Times, “Mexico could be the first play...We have the vision of becoming a Latin American E&P champion,” positioned between national oil companies like Mexico’s Petroleos Mexicanos and “companies that are already operating in each target country.”

The CEO ruled out deepwater exploration targets or mature marginal fields.

“I want to build a portfolio with exploration, development and production, across plays where our technology, capabilities and know-how can make the difference,” he said, both in the onshore and in shallow water plays.

Also on the radar is Argentina’s Vaca Muerta shale play, where he helped YPF lead the charge. Vaca Muerta has drawn a bevy of big money explorers, including ExxonMobil Corp., Chevron Corp. and Royal Dutch Shell plc.

“Vaca Muerta is obviously on our radar; we believe we have a unique edge there,” Galuccio said.

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