Wednesday 21 March 2018

Petroneft slumps 38pc as ISEQ joins buoyant mood

Thomas Molloy and John Mulligan

EXPLORATION firm Petroneft was the biggest mover on Dublin's exchange yesterday as shares collapsed a massive 38pc amid disappointing news about production levels from a major Siberian well.

The fall marked the biggest one-day drop since the shares were listed in 2006, and came as the overall Dublin index rose 1.4pc as investors across Europe took heart from perceived progress in the long-running Greek debt talks.

Petroneft's spiral was triggered after the company said production fell to 2,300 barrels a day "in recent weeks" from about 3,000 barrels a day at the end of last year. In June Petroneft cut its output target for the end of the first quarter to 5,000 barrels a day from 8,000.

Meanwhile, Dragon Oil said it was considering making a takeover offer for Bowleven, as part of the explorer's long-stated plan to expand outside of Turkmenistan. Cameroon-focused Bowleven shares surged 70pc in London while Dubai-based Dragon closed up 1.5pc at €6.55 in Dublin. Tullow Oil is also rumoured to be interested in the company.

The ISEQ Overall Index finished the session up 43.92 points, or 1.4pc higher at 3,175.86. Earlier during the day it had topped the 3,200 mark, but pared that gain by lunchtime.


Major gainers during the day included Bank of Ireland, which advanced 11.1pc, or 1.4 cent, to close at 14 cent, placing a market capitalisation of nearly €4.3bn on the institution. Shares in AIB, now virtually entirely owned by the State, climbed 14.7pc, or 1.5 cent, to 11.7 cent on very low volumes.

The biggest component of the ISEQ, cement and aggregates group CRH, added 4.8pc, or 74 cent, to €16.12. It's now way off lows of around €10.50 witnessed last September. Its larger peer, Lafarge, reported better-than-expected results sending its shares soaring 7.7pc.

National benchmark indices gained in every market except Norway yesterday. France's CAC 40 added 1.3pc, while Germany's DAX increased 1.4pc. The UK's FTSE 100 added 0.5pc.

Greece's ASE Index charged 5pc ahead, for the biggest gain among western-European markets, as the nation's lenders advanced. Piraeus Bank rallied 14pc to 64.2 cent. Alpha Bank surged 16pc to €1.81. "An agreement on Greece seems near," said Benoit Peloille, equity market strategist at Natixis in Paris.

Irish Independent

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