Tullow Oil has $1bn war chest for deals

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The Independent Online

Tullow Oil, the independent exploration company, served notice yesterday that it could easily repeat last year's explosive growth performance when it more than doubled in size through $1bn (£530m) of acquisitions.

Tullow Oil, the independent exploration company, served notice yesterday that it could easily repeat last year's explosive growth performance when it more than doubled in size through $1bn (£530m) of acquisitions.

Aidan Heavey, the chief executive of the Dublin-based group, said Tullow had a lot more firepower today than a year ago when it began its expansion with the takeover of Energy Africa. That was followed by the £200m takeover of two North Sea oilfields, Schooner and Ketch.

"If we found the right opportunities then we could easily spend the same again," he said. The Energy Africa deal, which increased Tullow's presence in West Africa, was funded with the aid of a £123.5m share placing. But Mr Heavey said Tullow could fund further acquisitions without having to go back to shareholders.

He was speaking as Tullow reported a 200 per cent increase in net profits last year to £33m. The dividend was lifted by 75 per cent to 1.75p. Tullow shares, which have more than doubled over the past 12 months to give the company a market capitalisation of £1.2bn, closed 7p lower at 183p.

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