Market Report: Premier Oil investors get some good news at last


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The Independent Online

Robust results cheered long-suffering investors in Premier Oil, whose shares avoided the same fate as its North Sea peers amid a turbulent time for commodities.

Revenues in the first half of 2015 fell 34 per cent to $577m (£368m), while mounting development costs for its Solan project turned last year’s $50.4m profit into a loss of $214.7m. But investors were mesmerised by the group’s operating cashflow, which came in well ahead of forecasts at $513m. The shares rose 15.35p to 111.5p.

However, Premier’s share price performance over the past year – it has fallen by two-thirds – puts the rise into perspective. Crucially, the company managed to negotiate more flexible debt terms with bankers and bondholders in return for putting dividends on hold.

Its financial covenants have now been pushed out to mid-2017, by which time its Catcher project in the North Sea should be producing oil.

Amid the global sell-off that saw the FTSE 100 lose 35.56 points to 6,367.89, traders sought solace in precious metals, boosting the appeal of gold miner Randgold Resources, up 233p to 4,255p, silver producer Fresnillo, 36.5p higher at 684.5p, and platinum miner Anglo American, up 31.1p at 740.5p.

A huge fall in the Kazakh currency, caused by its government abandoning a fixed exchange rate in favour of a free float, lit a fire under Kaz Minerals. It was up 21.7p to 177.4p, on the prospect of lower costs. Its half-year results showed that a weaker currency helped the FTSE 250 copper miner into the black from a loss last year.

Investors took a punt on shares in, up 1.1p at 114.6p on reports GVC will raise the stakes in its battle with 888 for the online betting group.

Eastern European airline Wizz Air, up 50 per cent this year, nosedived 23p to 1,840p as broker Nomura decided its shares were now too rich and downgraded the company to neutral.

On the junior market, Keywords Studios put on 1p to 160p as the Irish video games services group spent $9m on buying the US-based Liquid Development, which has provided the artistry for games such as the popular Halo franchise.