TAMPA, Fla., March 5, 2013 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Odyssey Marine Exploration, Inc. (Nasdaq:OMEX), a pioneer in the fields of deep-ocean shipwreck and offshore mineral exploration, through a wholly-owned subsidiary, has sold 15% of Oceanica Resources, S. de. R.L., a newly-organized subsidiary engaged in seafloor mineral exploration, for U.S. $15 million to Mako Resources, LLC, an independent investment group.
Mako purchased a total of 15 million Oceanica shares and was granted options to purchase an additional 15 million Oceanica shares at $2.50 per share before December 31, 2013. If all options are exercised, the aggregate gross proceeds to Odyssey would be U.S. $52.5 million.
Odyssey currently owns 62.6 million shares of Oceanica's 100 million shares outstanding. Odyssey executives hold two of three seats on the Oceanica's board of managers.Oceanica controls exclusive permits in an offshore concession area believed to feature valuable mineral resources based on extensive exploratory activities and analysis undertaken by Odyssey. Preliminary resource assessments indicate that the concessions, which have been granted for a 50-year period, may have significant economic and strategic value. For competitive reasons, Odyssey has not previously disclosed detailed information about this project or the type and location of its mineral deposits. This venture does not involve the previously reported equity positions in Neptune Minerals and Chatham Rock Phosphate, which are also both involved in separate seabed mineral projects. "The successful exploration, preliminary development, and now sale of a portion of this valuable mineral asset validates our diversification into offshore mineral exploration and the pioneering work we've been doing in the field," said Greg Stemm, Odyssey's Chief Executive Officer. "We believe this sale also supports the potential value of our other offshore mineral interests and demonstrates how these assets can be monetized." Odyssey plans to use the net proceeds of the sale to fund Odyssey's further exploration and recovery activity, including the planned silver recoveries from the SS Gairsoppa and SS Mantola , which are scheduled to resume in May of this year. Odyssey recently executed a charter agreement to again secure the Seabed Worker as the proven operating platform for these recoveries. Added Stemm, "Between the increasing number of shipwreck recovery opportunities and our expanding underwater mineral exploration activities, we're successfully transforming Odyssey into a company with a diversified portfolio of valuable assets capable of providing significant cash flow and shareholder value."