Vanguard eyes Candax Energy

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The Independent Online

Vanguard Energy, the cash-rich London venture run by Neil Ritson, is mulling a bid for Toronto Stock Exchange-listed Candax Energy.

Candax in effect put itself on the block in June when it announced it had hired oil and gas adviser Scotia Waterous "to assist the company in unlocking the undervalued potential" of its shares".

It is believed that Candax, which has operations in Tunisia and Madagascar, could fetch around US$40m (£24m). A sale would be ideal, as the falling share price has constrained the company's ability to raise new equity or access loans needed to develop its assets.

Vanguard has been on the hunt for assets since it raised $500m from its Boston private equity backers last year. Mr Ritson, a former BP executive, founded the company after leaving Regal Petroleum, the Ukraine-focused and Aim-listed group.

Mr Ritson resigned following a boardroom coup, which led to the collapse of his management team's plans to sell a majority stake in the business to Royal Dutch Shell.

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