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Ophir Energy says its positioned for significant cash flow

In light of the rejected US$362mln takeover offer, perhaps today’s key nugget of information is that Ophir had US$323mln of cash and it expects to generate more in 2019

oil and gas operations
Ophir pitched production guidance at 25,000 boepd

Bid-for Ophir Energy PLC (LON:OPHR) released a trading update in which interim boss Alan Booth said the company is well positioned for “significant free cash flow”.

“Our underlying business and balance sheet remain robust,” Booth said.

READ: Ophir rejects £360mln takeover offer from Indonesian oil giant

He added: “We are building a company with increasing cash generation, and declining risk capital expenditure. Our future investment decisions will continue to focus on maximising returns to shareholders."

Ophir said pro-forma production amounted to 29,700 barrels of oil equivalent per day (boepd), and reported that capital expenditure for the year was US$122mln which was below prior guidance of US$145mln. It added that net debt reduced to US$35mln, while it had US$323mln of cash and equivalent.

The company gave production guidance for 2019 at 25,000 boepd, and the capex estimate is pitched at US$150mln. It expects to end the year with US$230mln of cash.

Yesterday, Ophir knocked back a £362mln takeover offer from Medco Energi, claiming the Indonesian energy giant’s bid “undervalues” the company.

The pair had opened talks before Christmas after Medco suggested it would consider tabling an offer nearer to £430mln, before reducing this to £401mln shortly after.

It came after the Block R licence in Equatorial Guinea was not extended, marking the end of the project for Ophir.

Ophir said the board had met to discuss the offer, which was made on Friday and had “unanimously agreed” to turn it down, without giving any further details. Under City takeover rules, Medco now has until 28 January to either make a firm offer or walk away from a deal altogether.

In today’s statement, Alan Booth added: “We are in negotiations to rationalise parts of our frontier exploration portfolio with the potential to not only bring in cash, but also importantly reduce our future exploration capital commitments and further improve our liquidity position. 

“We remain mindful of the potential value of our gas assets in Tanzania, notwithstanding the uncertainty over timing for their development.”

Quick facts: Ophir Energy Plc

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Market: LSE
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