By William Turvill
Midweek News Round-Up
Shares in Zenith Energy bounced up a healthy seven per cent yesterday as the firm brought investors good news from the Republic of Congo. The oil and gas firm is close to taking control of 80 per cent of AAOG Congo, which itself has a 56 per cent interest in the Tilapia oilfield. Zenith management has held constructive talks with the nation’s authorities about renewing a 25-year licence for the site.
The company also provided positive updates on the purchase of Coro Energy’s Italian assets and its latest plans for drilling in Azerbaijan. Chief executive Andrea Cattaneo said it had been a “busy start to the year” and expressed hopes that Zenith’s work in the Republic of Congo could “deliver transformational value” for shareholders.
Today the company announced The Potential Acquisition, of an asset formerly operated by a major international oil company, last produced at a rate in excess of 1,000 barrels of oil per day. on completion, the asset does not require material upfront capital investment and has the potential to fulfill Zenith’s mid-cap development objectives.
Advertising firm Bidstack Group’s downward trajectory on Aim continued yesterday after it warned investors that revenue growth would be “minor” in the first half of 2020.
Its share price closed at below 6p on Tuesday, down around 20 per cent from 7.75p on Monday. Its stock was trading at above 30p last summer. Bidstack, which specialises in native advertising within video games, also yesterday announced the appointment of Andrew House – formerly of Sony and PlayStation to its advisory committee.
Mining group Petra Diamonds was downgraded by a major bank on Tuesday amid concerns about its ability to cut down on debts. Proactive Investors reported Citi analysts saying that Petra is in a “tough spot”, with a net debt of $632.9million eclipsing its market cap, £74million, and cash of $53.6million. Petra’s share price – down from around 155p three years ago – dipped again yesterday to 8.45p.
What could have been for Sirius Minerals’ beleaguered shareholders?
The Evening Standard reported on Tuesday how the Qatar Investment Authority tried to form a rescue deal for the firm before Anglo American stepped in. According to the Standard, the exceedingly wealthy sovereign wealth fund – already a major Sirius
shareholder – looked into raising equity for the North Yorkshire mine project after the collapse of a $500million bond issue in September.
A source told the newspaper: “It did not want to go head to head with Anglo. It wouldn’t be their style to go hostile with a company like Anglo, BHP or Rio and they don’t tend to fund early-stage mining development projects.”
Shareholders, some of whom have already spoken out against Anglo’s £405million deal, vote on the rescue package on 3 March.
The NMC Health saga goes on. After months of trouble for the Abu Dhabi-headquartered medical firm, its shares bounced up on Monday after it confirmed a Mail on Sunday story that private equity giant KKR was considering a takeover bid. However, KKR yesterday ruled out any interest in NMC – which is the target of an attack by short-seller Muddy Waters – sending shares right back down again.
News agencies in the USA have been covering the story extensively here
The author was remunerated but does not hold shares in the company