Hardy in 29m pounds cash call

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The Independent Online
HARDY Oil & Gas, the North Sea explorer, is tapping shareholders for the second time in two years with a pounds 29m cash call to finance acquisitions and develop new fields, writes Neil Thapar.

The one-for-four rights issue at 133p a share comes two weeks after the company reported a 42 per cent jump in net profits for the year to 31 March.

Hardy said the proceeds would help to fund projects in several countries including the UK, where new fields are expected to come on stream in the next few years.

In April 1991, it launched a pounds 27.6m rights issue for similar reasons. But a burgeoning drilling and production programme in the past two years has pushed up its net borrowings by about half to pounds 91m, equivalent to 47 per cent of net assets.

'We need a reasonable balance between debt and equity for expansion. We also want to buy more producing assets both in the North Sea and North America,' Tony Whyatt, finance director, said.

Since Hardy's demerger from Trafalgar House in 1989 its oil and gas reserves have doubled to 167 million barrels.

Midland & Scottish Resources, the troubled oil company, yesterday reported an increase in taxable losses from pounds 46m to pounds 96m for 1992. The result reflects an pounds 80m write-down in the value of the Emerald field in which it has a 98 per cent stake.

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