Saturday 18 January 2020

Guessing game on Providence oil and gas prospects

At the launch of the start of the BoyleSports Irish Greyhound Derby 2017 at Shelbourne Park were three generations of the Byrne family — Imelda Byrne (84), son Michael (right) and grandson Phillip with their two greyhounds Eva and Catunda Alonso
At the launch of the start of the BoyleSports Irish Greyhound Derby 2017 at Shelbourne Park were three generations of the Byrne family — Imelda Byrne (84), son Michael (right) and grandson Phillip with their two greyhounds Eva and Catunda Alonso

Gavin McLoughlin

What a week it has been for followers of Providence Resources.

The oil and gas explorer is drilling two prospects off the south-west coast, and its share price was battered after it struck water at the first.

By now it should be there or thereabouts at the second target, and some sharp rises in the share price this week got people wondering whether the market was about to hear some good news.

Shareholders took to internet message boards to swap theories about what was going on. The movements of the vessels supporting the drillship, the gargantuan Stena IceMax, were pored over in great detail.

In the end, the week closed with no new news - here's to another week of furious speculation.

Another company from which news is being awaited is Oisin Fanning's San Leon Energy - where shares are still suspended from trading after it failed to publish its accounts on time, blaming procedural reasons.

The deadline was June 30 - seven weeks later they still haven't appeared.

The company said on June 30 that it had received a conditional takeover offer from a Chinese company which expected to be able to make a formal offer within 45 days. No news there either - perhaps this is the week.

Can Eir and SuperValu score telecoms win for the Irish?

Eir is trying a new tactic in the battle between phone/broadband/TV providers.

The elder lemon of the Irish telecoms world has teamed up with SuperValu to become part of the supermarket's loyalty programme.

The deal will see SuperValu give rewards points to customers who connect their Eir broadband or landline account with their points tally. Points can also be used to claim discounts on Eir bills.

Eir has been putting up a big fight against Rupert Murdoch's Sky, John Malone's Virgin and Vodafone in the fiercely-competitive market.

Eir is a big player here but it's small fry compared to the global presence of its rivals - likewise SuperValu versus Tesco or the German discounters.

Will this combination prove a win for the Irish?

Going to the dogs is all sweetness and light again

Ergo found itself at Shelbourne Park this week as heats got under way for last year's Irish Greyhound Derby.

It's been a tough year for the Irish Greyhound Board after its decision to sell off Harold's Cross was greeted with massive protests from disgruntled greyhound owners and breeders. Live racing even ceased at Shelbourne Park - the flagship venue for greyhound racing - for a period.

The sale process took place with Dr Sean Brady - who readers may remember was chief executive of Irish Sugar when the plant in Carlow was closed - in situ as interim chief executive. Choosing the Department of Education as preferred bidder was a PR bonus - who could be against building more schools? Eventually a deal was worked out and there was no sign of any acrimony at the track on Thursday night. A large contingent from Bank of Ireland was among those present. That bank has just gone to the dogs.

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