WTI $104.11 -24c, Brent $110.02 -52c, Diff $5.91 -28c, NG $4.51 +10c
After the long weekend the oil price stayed dozy, traders told me that the market was very quiet and whilst Brent sold off a bit in low volume there were buyers again at the important $110 level. Inventory stats will be a day late this week but product as much as crude levels will be an important way of seeing how the US economy is doing. Yesterday the durable goods orders as well as the services PMI number beat the whisper which pushed markets higher. Interesting to see that Warren Buffett, the Sage of Omaha said that he will look for his next major acquisition ‘amongst energy companies’…
Weir snuck in last Tuesday with another bid for Metso, this time upping the bid by another 13% to €30.49 per share in equity plus a €2.13 special dividend in cash. With the significant cost savings to the combined group and that Metso would own circa 40% of the new company I have to say that I thought that new bid might at least get the two boards round a table but the bid appears to have been summarily dismissed by Metso. If I was a shareholder in Metso I think I would be more than a little disgruntled although the shareholder list is dominated by holders who don’t necessarily have the same outlook on life but even so the money on the table seems to have been extremely generous. For Weir shareholders assuming the deal doesn’t re-emerge they can carry on safe in the knowledge that business is going extremely well and any mining weakness is being offset in the oil and gas division.
I will try and catch up with Rob Shepherd later today but the news from Azonto today is not good. The FID for Gazelle has been delayed due to ‘aspects out of Vioco’s control’ and they and Vitol hope to have it done 2H 2014 but I suspect there is not much breath holding going on. On the Accra block although an extension has been granted as the company seeks new partners as Ophir and TAP both left the syndicate earlier in the year. With Azonto saying that ‘there is no assurance we can find a partner for the exploration’ it looks a bit disappointing but the company do say that it is possible to create material shareholder value in what is a low cost opportunity.
Range Resources are not sitting still at all at the moment as today they appoint a new CFO to work with Rory Scott-Brown the new-ish CEO. Nick Beattie comes from investment banking but don’t blame him for that as it is often a good training ground for the rigours of running the finances of an oil exploration company. Although some of the debt problems at Range have been cleared up Nick will find its finances somewhat ‘quirky’ to put it mildly and there is still much to do. I still feel that the turnaround at Range is going well, there are shareholders who appear to question and oppose every move but I think that they have no idea how much trouble the business was in or how much the new CEO and non-execs have already done for them.
I thought that it would be quiet today after the sportsfest over the weekend but I am never disappointed by the madness that some people get up to in the name of sport. I refer of course to the German World Cup soccer squad who, instead of training on a football pitch and kicking a few balls decided to take the lads on a speed driving circuit day with a rally driver and Nico ‘park the car’ Rosberg teaching the boys how to drive. Well it went spectacularly wrong as the rally driver mit passenger ran over two spectators one of whom is badly injured and the lads are now all shook up.
As mentioned yesterday Spurs hired Pochettino and twitter was ablaze last night with jokes about getting the signing done before its time to sack him etc but not really sure where Tottenham might be next year… I note that Charlton Athletic have signed that well known international manager Bob Peeters, must be a first to sign up a former Milwall player as your manager…
Scotland aren’t even in the World Cup but they are surrounded by a new match-fixing row over their friendly against Nigeria at Craven Cottage tonight, now I’ve heard a lot of things in football but match-fixing against Scotland is not one of them.
Andy Murray and Heather Watson got through their games in the French Open which will be a big test for both of them on the clay although with Stanislas out it may be a bit easier…
Back to longjumpgate where our hero Greg Rutherford was accused by Chris Tomlinson of doing a false jump in a recent world record, interestingly CT held the record before which may have something to do with it. Anyway, he doesn’t now as all three world bodies have said it was legal and decent and all that…
Last night in the NBA… The Oklahoma City Thunder levelled the Western Conference Finals with victory over the San Antonio Spurs. Russell Westbrook with 40 points and 10 assists. Game 5 begins early on Friday morning. Tomorrow the Miami Heat can clinch their third consecutive Eastern Conference Title if they beat the Pacers.
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