Question And Answer With James Parsons
Total Markets Solutions welcomes James Parsons, we elected to connect with the newly proposed Executive chairman of Ascent to better understand his visions and rationale for joining the company. During the last decade, Mr. Parsons has demonstrated his entrepreneurial and dynamic nature can unlock incredible value in the face of adversity so we’re thrilled to hear more from him here.
Good morning James. Congratulations on your recent appointment at Ascent. I’d like to start by asking why you chose Ascent for this next role?
Yes, sure. I’ve actually been tracking Ascent for many years now. I see it as a high liquidity stock with a loyal shareholder base, minimum legacy liabilities, and a solid Slovenian producing asset albeit that unfortunately is now locked up in long term permitting / legal disputes. For the record I have technically Due Diligence’d the Slovenian asset multiple times over the years and I fundamentally like it, particularly the deeper play. We for sure have a journey ahead in Slovenia to repair relationships in-country, navigate ourselves back from the edge and start a constructive dialogue with stakeholders. Even more critical is that post the recently announced refinancing and restructuring, and assuming shareholder support at the forthcoming GM, Ascent will become a strong and highly advantaged platform for acquisitive growth in the upstream space.
What will happen to the current team?
I’m joining as Chairman and have brought alongside me Ewen Ainsworth and Leonardo Salvadori as Independent Non-Execs so that we have a balanced Board with the right technical skills and governance grounding. John, the CEO, completes the team and we look forward to hitting the ground running together shortly, of course assuming shareholders support the new approach.
How does this combine with your role at Regency?
Just as we are in all the middle of an accelerating energy transition, I am also transitioning my own portfolio from just Oil and Gas to a blend that better supports the inevitable lower carbon economy. Regency is an early mover in battery metals and electricity grid solutions, both of which directly support the adoption of EVs and increasing energy storage needs. Ascent on the other hand is my chosen platform in Oil and Gas to take advantage of my group’s connectivity and access to capital, which we have developed over the years.
There are still many opportunities in upstream E&P, particularly for nimble, well-financed micro caps. I don’t want to give too much away too early but let’s just say I am particularly focused on “special situations” such as consolidating previously highly fragmented basins and securing early positions in sanctioned countries.
What would be your message to current Ascent shareholders?
The key message is that we are here to turn this company around over the coming months.
I would absolutely acknowledge the, at times, challenging history at Ascent and suggest that we have a genuine chance to start afresh and build something material together.
I see my role here as providing the energy, deal flow, access to capital, strategic framework, and connectivity. The plan is to build on Ascent’s core strengths and utilise our learnings from the past to deliver value for shareholders and grow the business at pace.
James thank you for taking the time out to join TMS and talk us through your future plans for Ascent, all the very best wishes.
TMS has no position in AST and was not remunerated to provide the interview, we hold no engagement with the company and hope that the interview goes some way to assisting new and longstanding (existing) investors better understand James and the companies outlook.
James has a wealth of experience in both exploring and financing substantial plans