Bowleven - time for a small drop of Ouzo as 15p special dividend is announced says Nigel Somerville

Anglo African Oil & Gas – who is the villain here: Tom Winnifrith, Nomad FinnCrap or CEO David Sefton? Read HERE

It has taken a bit longer than I had hoped, but we have now had the first sign that AIM-listed Bowleven (BLVN) might be set to come good. I tipped this stock at around 31p a year ago in the ShareProphets Christmas tip-fest, hoping that it would be all over by now, and top-sliced at above 37p. Since then the shares have drifted slowly back to the mid 20s but now the company announced plans to cough up 15p a share as a special dividend next month and the shares have responded higher to 32p. I hope a few managed to follow my upgrade to BUY during November, at just 25p. This was always an asset play: the company had a pile of cash and a decent stake in the Etinde field off Cameroon – but did not have control over it. Two drills last year (fully carried) with some success (but not the gusher some may have been hoping for) and here we are. So where does all this leave us?

Christmas trading update time - Morrisons, Greene King and Joules. Chris Bailey writes HERE

The dividend will cost Bowleven around £50 million – which is around $64 million. At the last balance sheet the company had cash and investments of around $80 million which will therefore leave just $16 million over as a war chest. But the company sounds very confident of the $25 million payment which will be triggered on a Final Investment Decision by the joint venture partners in the short to medium term, stating that the dividend takes into account: The Board's expectation of reaching FID on Etinde in the short to medium term, triggering a payment of $25 million from JV partners. We also know that: The upcoming Etinde work programme and budget has now been agreed amongst the upstream joint venture partners for 2019. The detailed effort will contribute towards the interpretation of the data and the development options for the block with a view to its commercialisation.

Steve Moore writes HERE: Accrol – “despite… operational improvements and sales price increases”…

Since I assume that Bowleven had been hanging on to the cash in order to keep its options open with regard to participation in future spending on Etinde (and return surplus cash to shareholders) it sounds as though things are well on the way. As I read it, the $25 million bonus looks to be on the way, at least in principle. And that suggests that the joint venture partners, Lukoil and New Age, are going for it – which suggests further upside. That will leave the company with around $40 million in cash. Add on the special dividend of $64 million and we are up to $104 million, or £82 million, and a fully diluted 20% stake in Etinde. As things stand, Bowleven is capitalised at £107 million which suggests that either the market is discounting the cash or only valuing Etinde at £25 million. That sounds very low indeed, especially when compared to the sale of 40% of Etinde for $180 million (so far), free carry on last year’s drilling and another $25 million on the Final Investment Decision (which now looks to be almost in the bag).

Optibiotix – Indian manufacturing deal very good news, more to come. Read HERE

It is entertaining to compare the proved assets of Etinde, at apparently a whopping discount, to the assets of UK Oil and Gas (UKOG). I know which I would rather be holding now! It is also worth noting, as Waseem Shakoor does, that we have a mightily unusual situation in that we have an AIM-listed company – and an oil/gas play at that – RETURNING cash to shareholders. He also notes that while some were slating Crown Ocean (who led the removal of the old board), we have now seen costs slashed, cash handed back and two (feely carried) appraisal wells. This is great stuff for Crown Ocean, which will be delighted to be getting around half of its investment back in cold hard cash. One might wonder why Bowleven is holding on to the other $16 million. I daresay we might find out when the plans for Etinde this year are made public – perhaps Bowleven is going to pony up a small amount towards current plans. One thing I’m pretty sure of, however, is that there won’t be enough for the company to blow it on anything new. With 15p per share now winging its way back to me, I’m happy enough. And as Waseem Shakoor notes, this all marks out Crown Ocean as an activist investor to watch – and follow. Everything it promised has been done. At 32p this still looks cheap, and especially so if the $25 million comes in. Now, where’s that bottle of Ouzo?

Another month passes & yet still no Bluejay Mining Offtake deal ... placing beckons says The Sheriff of AIM HERE

Filed under: Bowleven, Anglo African, Morrisons, Greene King, Joules, Accrol, Optibiotix, Bluejay Mining

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