Saturday 24 March 2018

Aminex falls as explorer's losses increase five-fold to $5.3m

John Mulligan

John Mulligan

Shares in oil explorer Aminex dropped sharply after it said losses soared five-fold last year.

Its losses soared to $5.3m (€4.1m) as gross revenue was nearly halved to $4.9m.

Releasing preliminary results, the company, which is active in countries including Tanzania and the US, said production from its American operations declined 25pc last year from 115,000 barrels of oil to 86,000. It said that oil production from continuing operations fell 30pc.

The company is planning to sell its US operations this year as it continues to reposition itself. Its assets there are in Texas and Louisiana.

It put them up for sale last year but the disposal process was suspended after the operators of two of the fields there announced planned work programmes.

Aminex is back actively looking for buyers for its assets in the US, however, and has received expressions of interest from a number of parties.

Last year Aminex had sought to secure a loan facility of $15m to fund a cost overrun associated with drilling at a site in Tanzania.

The funds were also being sought in order to progress planned seismic surveys at two other locations in the country – Ruvuma and Nyuni.

But the company failed to secure the $15m, delaying operational activities. In January, Aminex did secure an $8m loan facility from a fund managed by Argo Capital Management (Cyprus).


"The company intends to repay the loan facility from the proceeds of the proposed sale of its US assets," said Aminex.

Aminex shares were trading over 16pc lower yesterday.

"During 2013 we plan to dispose of our US assets, pay down our short-term loan facility, secure industry partners for both Ruvuma and Nyuni and put in place a strong management team," said executive chairman Brian Hall, who had retired as chairman but was called back in January to head the company after it parted ways with chief executive Stuard Detmer.

Mr Detmer had what Mr Hall described as an "ambitious programme" to fast-track development of Aminex.

"However, we did not succeed in reaching the milestones of this programme or in raising the interim finance needed to progress our projects in Tanzania last year," he added.

Mr Hall acknowledged that 2012 had been a "frustrating year" for shareholders.

"But we believe that our assets in the rapidly growing East African sector merit perseverance and we will be using all efforts to ensure that they bear fruit," he said.

Irish Independent

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