Salamander Energy investors burned as deal hopes slither away

 

Salamander Energy investors hoping for a windfall from a juicy takeover bid have been disappointed.

The Asian-focused oil and gas explorer fell to the bottom of the small-cap index, down 8p at 119.5p, after admitting it had called time on efforts to sell itself. Salamander put the ‘For Sale’ sign out in May, after the touting of assets attracted punters interest in the whole operation.

Shareholders were optimistic about the prospects of a deal, speculating bids could be as high as 200p per share. But whatever offers were made didn’t satisfy the board, which yesterday opted instead to just sell  a 40 per cent stake in its Greater Bualuang field in the Gulf of Thailand to SONA Petroleum for $280m.

Chairman Charles Jamieson said the deal, which will see $50m returned to investors’ pockets, “represents the best outcome for shareholders and the wider Group.”

The bluechip index was quiet, with traders reluctant to take any big positions as geopolitical uncertainties rumble on. Defence stocks continued to be in demand, with gold miners Fresnillo and Randgold Resources up 14.5p to 915.5p and 40p to 5105p respectively and utilities like Severn Trent, up 17p at 1943p, and National Grid, 2.5p better at 866.5p, trading well.

Barratt Developments led the fallers, down 9.4p at 354.2p, after Rightmove’s asking price survey registered its first monthly dip since December. The FTSE 100 lost 21.01 points to 6728.44.

Jefferies came out to bat for TSB, arguing that branch reductions and an IT overhaul could boost the bank’s earnings by as much as 100 per cent in the long-term. TSB was up 7.25p to 292p.

The likelihood of further sanctions against Russia hammered ITE Group, which organises conferences in the area. ITE, down 18p to 197p, warned just last week that instability in Ukraine had hampered performance in the third quarter.

Shanta Gold climbed 0.37p to 14.25p on AIM after better than expected production figures. The Tanzanian gold producer has now had five straight quarters of rising production.

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