WTI $45.52 +39c, Brent $48.11 +32c, Diff -$2.54 -7c, NG $2.89 +5c

Oil price

The oil price resumed its upward trajectory yesterday in a weak and feeble way, API stats out after the bell on Wednesday had been better than expected and so did the EIA numbers which showed a 6.3m draw, more than three times expectations. Continued high refinery activity and fewer imports helped matters but gossip about Russia not committing to deeper cuts and Saudi Arabia ‘trimming’ prices to Asian customers left crude well off its highs and it has fallen back again this morning.

Cape PLC

So farewell then Cape, as it takes the money and runs after a 265p bid from Altrad who have made a cash and grab raid on what is a fine company, very well run by Joe Oatley and Michael Speakman. Whatever the company says about a 46% premium these shares were at 248.5p on June the first, only five weeks ago, if that is not short-termism I dont know what is. I am aware that the price weakness since then is a result of a cautious trading statement which I probably didnt read bearishly enough.  I notice that Artemis, Schroders and Henderson are at the front of the queue for their cheques and as they represent 18.2% of the company I suspect the other 30 odd percent owned by institutions holding over 3% will push them over the line, having said that people with long memories will remember what some of these shareholders have gone through to get here… I note that the total board holding is 0.24% of the company, not exactly skin in the game eh?

I have no problem in this deal going through, in this market shareholders must assess a serious cash offer like this and with the oil sector, particularly services, hardly fizzing, the board may well know more than the rest of us how the next 18 months looks. However, having said that Altrad may just have found a diamond in the rough where the current owners are more interested in a cash offer only 6.5p higher than five weeks ago. I am probably bitter and twisted, after all it’s not my money I am talking about but I have such huge respect for Joe and Mike that I would have liked to have seen them finish the job they were brought in to do. Make no mistake if these two pitch up at a company you are invested in things just got a lot better and I wish them well for the future.


I dont cover UKOG as I havent met them and dont tend to pontificate until I’ve had a chance to catch up but today’s update from Broadford Bridge looks quite interesting. Having said that the shares are down, either the huge rise in recent weeks is enough or expectations are incredibly high. Suffice it to say that BB-1 appears to be similar to the HH-1 well to the North East so it looks like they may have unlocked the Kimmeridge Limestone play in quite a decisive manner.

And finally

A busy weekend of sport and g.o.k’s what I will forget today…

Obviously above all stands the Lions against the All Blacks at 0835 tomorrow morning, bacon butties at the ready and hearts in mouths…

Later on the first test at Lords resumes, after a poor start as selectors failed again, Captain Marvel with help from old guard Stokes and Ali rescued things somewhat by the close. Thank goodness for no-balls and dropped catches is all I can say.

The F1 caravan rolls on to Austria and to the surprise of many but not to F1 insiders who know that the management can’t annoy the Tifosi or Mr Vettel.

At Sandown Park a huge crowd will enjoy another Coral Eclipse Stakes with a fantastic field assembled…

Wimbledon continues in the hot sunshine and today there are still four brits involved for the first time for many years…