Tuesday 21 November 2017

Fastnet looks to complete pharma takeover in months

Fastnet is considering selling off its portfolio in the Celtic Sea
Fastnet is considering selling off its portfolio in the Celtic Sea

Paul O'Donoghue

Irish firm Fastnet, which recently announced its intent to switch industry focus from oil exploration to pharmaceuticals, is looking to complete a takeover deal in the coming months.

Yesterday Fastnet, now called Fastnet Equity, posted an operating loss of $39.9m for the year to the end of March, a sharp increase on a loss of $2.9m the year before.

The increase was mainly due to an impairment charge of $36.6m in relation to its exploration and evaluation assets.

The company has surrendered its interests in many of its Irish and foreign assets, the value of which were written off. The firm is considering spinning off its portfolio in the Celtic Sea into a separate company in which existing Fastnet shareholders would hold a stake.

Fastnet, which had cash reserves of $15.9m at the end of July, is now focused on the pharma sector. Speaking to the Irish Independent, Fastnet's non-executive chairman Cathal Friel said the firm is looking to acquire a pharma company in the coming months in a reverse takeover.

"We will have several non-executive directors coming on in the next few weeks and their job will be to review and assess some pharma deals," Mr Friel said.

The most likely thing we would do is a reverse takeover of a new pharma company and then get a new management team in place.

"When we have a deal we will go back to shareholders to vote on it, [hopefully] it will be within the next few months," he said.

One rumoured possible takeover target for Fastnet is newly launched Horizon Medical Technologies, which is backed by Raglan Capital of which Mr Friel is the managing director.

"At the moment Horizon has its own plan and there is no guarantee of a deal, but who knows what will happen down the road," Mr Friel said.

Irish Independent

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