Tullow wins £200m tax court case against oil firm

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OIL explorer Tullow yesterday said it had won a $313m (£200m) legal case against a former partner in Uganda.

The case centred on capital gains tax arising from Tullow’s 2010 purchase of Heritage Oil and Gas’s Ugandan assets.

Following the deal, the Ugandan tax authorities asked Tullow to pay the sum on Heritage’s behalf to cover outstanding capital gains tax in relation to the acquisition.

In the High Court in London a judge found in favour of Tullow’s claim against Heritage and dismissed the latter’s counterclaim.

A further hearing will be scheduled to address issues including interest payments and costs.

In a statement, Heritage said it “strongly disagrees” with the decision.

“Heritage will perform a robust and exhaustive evaluation of its legal options with a view to appealing the judgment. Any appeal process will be commenced within the prescribed time period of 21 days from the date of judgment.”

It said the judgment had no bearing on the outcome of its international arbitration proceedings against the Ugandan government in London which are ongoing. Heritage said money aleady placed in escrow and with the Ugandan government meant the ruling did not impact on its current cash position.

In December Tullow announced plans to sell off its gas exploration, development and production assets in the UK and Dutch Southern North Sea.

The assets together account for about 18,000 barrels of oil equivalent a day.

Tullow said they were non-core assets which no longer fitted within its portfolio and that it hopes to complete the sale by the end of 2013.

Shares in Tullow closed up 15p at 1,048p while Heritage dipped 3p to 139.2p.