RNS Releases
20 April 2009 - Interim results for the six months ended 31 January 2009 PDF Print E-mail

Portland Gas plc (AIM: PTG), the independent sub-surface gas storage company, today announces its unaudited interim results for the six months ended 31 January 2009.

Overview and highlights

• The first funding process for the Portland project was halted owing to the “credit crunch” in November 2008. BNP Paribas have since been appointed as project finance advisors and a new funding process for the Portland project is expected to commence in May 2009.
• Following a period of bi-lateral discussions with interested parties a new data-room was opened in March 2009 for the Portland project.
• All the remaining pre-start planning conditions for the Portland project were discharged during February 2009 and it is now ready to move into the construction phase.
• The Larne Lough project Environmental Impact Assessment work continues with a planning application submission target for Q4 2009 following a further period of consultation with stakeholders after a public exhibition scheduled for June 2009.
• Progress made with new ventures in both Germany and Spain during the period.
• The Board of Directors was strengthened in December 2008 with the appointment of Jonathan Davie.
• Cash position - £4.8 million (31 July 2008 - £9.3 million)
• Net asset position - £22.0 million (31 July 2008 - £22.7 million)

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19 December 2008 - Director Shareholdings PDF Print E-mail

Further to the announcement of 16 December 2008, the Directors of Portland Gas pic (AIM: PTG) ("the Company" or "Portland Gas") were informed on 18 December 2008 that Jonathan Davie, non-executive Director of the Company, is beneficially interested in 575,400 Ordinary Shares representing approximately 0.82% of the issued share capital of the Company.

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17 December 2008 - Results of Annual General Meeting and Operational Update PDF Print E-mail

The Directors of Portland Gas plc (AIM: PTG) (“the Company” or “Portland Gas”) are pleased to announce that at the Annual General Meeting held at the offices of Norton Rose at 14:30 on 16 December 2008 all resolutions put before the meeting were duly passed.

At the meeting the CEO Andrew Hindle presented a review of the business and its plans for 2009 which is now available on the Company’s website www.portland-gas.com.

The Company would also like to provide a brief update on its current operations.

The primary objective of the Company is to maximise shareholder value from the Portland and Larne Lough projects. These projects are of national importance and between them they could supply up to 42 million cubic metres (“mcm”) of gas per day (approximately 10% of the UK and Ireland’s gas requirement on a peak day) with the potential to increase the current and approved gas storage capacity in the UK by approximately 20%.

In relation to the Portland project, the Company is now evaluating a phased approach to the construction to reduce the initial capital expenditure, a hurdle in the recent unsuccessful funding process. With the halting of the 2008 funding process for the Portland project, the contract with NM Rothschild & Sons has been terminated. The Company is now seeking a strategic partner for the development of the project through bi-lateral negotiations.

Portland Gas is also committed to developing the gas storage project at Larne Lough in Northern Ireland. A borehole, Ballylumford-1, is planned to be drilled in the spring 2009 and preparations to construct the wellsite are well advanced. A confirmation of the properties of the Permian salt with the borehole will lead to the submission of a planning application for the project anticipated to be later in 2009.

Commenting today, Andrew Hindle, the CEO of Portland Gas, said:

“The goal of the Company is to ensure that shareholders obtain the true value of the gas storage assets in return for their support and investment. 

“Portland’s gas storage projects have the potential to make a significant contribution to the energy security of the UK and Ireland in the next decade when we believe gas storage assets will command high values in the market.  

“The strategy of the Company is to add material value in the short to medium-term by bringing forward new projects, and secure long-term shareholder returns by retaining an equity or capacity interest in the assets. Going forward the Company wishes to seek a single strategic partner (or consortium) in our projects. Portland Gas is seeking a partnership of skills, Portland Gas providing the origination team and the leases, licences and land purchases required for the project delivery, and the partner providing the access to capital and the operational and commercial skills.

“The Company has sufficient funds for 2009. It is the view of the management that the recent market conditions have not diminished the potential value of the Portland and Larne Lough projects. Indeed the latest cost estimate for the project has reduced to £450m. The new approach to the funding of projects will allow the Portland Gas team to focus on the origination of projects and unlock the underlying value of the assets.”

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16 December 2008 - Appointment of a new non-executive Director PDF Print E-mail

The Directors of Portland Gas plc (AIM: PTG) (“the Company” or “Portland Gas”) today announce the appointment of Jonathan Davie a new non-executive Director of the Company.

Mr Davie (aged 62) is a qualified Chartered Accountant. He joined George M. Hill and Co as a jobber on the London Stock Exchange in 1969. The firm was acquired by Wedd Durlacher Mordaunt and Co where Jonathan became a partner in 1975. Jonathan was the firm’s senior dealing partner on its acquisition by Barclays Bank to form BZW in 1986. Jonathan developed BZW's Fixed Income business prior to becoming CEO of the Global Equities Business in 1991. In 1996 Jonathan became Deputy Chairman of BZW and then Vice Chairman of Credit Suisse First Boston in 1998 on their acquisition of most of BZW's businesses. Jonathan is presently the non-executive Chairman of IG Group Holdings plc, a non-executive director of the Credit Suisse Private Bank in the UK, and a partner in First Avenue Partners, an alternatives advisory boutique.

Commenting on the appointment today, Ken Ratcliff, the Chairman of Portland Gas, said:

“We are pleased to have strengthened our Board of Directors through the appointment of Jonathan Davie who brings a wealth of City experience and will help improve shareholder liaison. In particular, in response to these fast-moving times, we believe that shareholders need to be kept fully appraised of developments within the Company and with his background and experience Jonathan is the right man to ensure that this function is fulfilled to good effect. We look forward to Jonathan’s contribution and the added perspective that he will bring to the Board.”

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5 November 2008 - Portland Project Update PDF Print E-mail

The Directors of Portland Gas plc (AIM: PTG) (“the Company” or “Portland Gas”) the independent gas storage company provide the following update on the funding of the Portland Project.

The Directors have decided in these very challenging market conditions to suspend the current joint venture funding process as they believe it would not result in acceptable terms being reached for the Company and its shareholders.

A consequence of the suspension of the joint venture funding process is that the target date for first gas has been revised to end Q1 2012 (from Q3/Q4 2011), but achievement of full capacity is still anticipated for the winter of 2015. In order to achieve these target dates the project will require approximately £12million of further funding in Q1 2009 followed by a significant further tranche, or full project funding, by the end of 2009. The Company is continuing discussions with several parties regarding securing the first part of this funding requirement with a strategic partner.

Commenting on the decision, Andrew Hindle, the CEO of Portland Gas, said:

“The Directors remain committed to full development of the Portland Project and are committing £2.5million from existing cash reserves to continue with the development work for the project through to the end of Q1 2009. The Portland gas storage facility is recognised as of National importance and could be providing 5% of the UK peak daily gas demand in the latter part of the next decade.

“During the funding process Portland Gas recognised that the prices generally being paid for gas storage assets in the market had declined, and therefore to retain its target of at least a 50% interest in the Portland Project alongside new joint venture partners it would be necessary for it to make a debt and equity contribution to the project. The global “credit crunch” has all but closed off the likelihood of achieving this target for the time being and this factor, combined with cut-backs in longer-term capex spend by industry participants in the sector, has meant that halting the current joint venture funding process is in the best interests of all shareholders.

“We anticipate that market conditions will improve in 2009 and we are continuing discussions with parties who have expressed an interest in investing in the Portland Project. Following a period of significant cost inflation over the past few years in the oil and gas sector, the Company anticipates that the recent reduction in commodity prices will feed through next year into a reduced estimated cost of construction for the Portland Project. However, as the board remains firmly committed to achieving fair long-term value for shareholders, we are prepared to suspend the project in 2009, if necessary, until acceptable terms for further funding are available.”

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