DAILY TELEGRAPH (UK): The Questor column: First Calgary riding high: “While Cairn wants to exploit its new found black gold in India alone, First Calgary is likely to be bought by the likes of Shell or Total, making a glorious end to a share price graph which has shot up like an old fashioned gusher since listing in July 2002.” (ShellNews.net) 20 Jan 05
Edited by Philip Aldrick (Filed: 20/01/2005)
Cairn Energy might have taken all the plaudits last year among Britain's independent oil and gas companies, but pretty soon First Calgary will grab its share of the headlines – for different reasons.
While Cairn wants to exploit its new found black gold in India alone, First Calgary is likely to be bought by the likes of Shell or Total, making a glorious end to a share price graph which has shot up like an old fashioned gusher since listing in July 2002.
Two years ago, First Calgary's shares were trading at around £1. Still listed on Aim, they closed at £10.05 last night, up 27½p on the day, giving the company a market capitalisation of £1.7billion - just £100m behind FTSE100-listed Cairn. If you took Questor's advice in June, when we said the shares were a "risky buy for the bold" at £5, you will have doubled your money.
What's fuelled this extraordinary story? Just one asset – an enormous gas field in onshore Algeria. As First Calgary has probed the field, the reserves have crept up – to 13.5trillion cubic feet at the latest (independently verified) check this week – fuelling the share price.
The company's problem is that the field is just too big and remote for it to exploit properly. With no gas contracts and requiring another $2.5billion to get the natural gas to the hungry consumers in nearby western Europe, the company's natural home is in the embrace of a bigger oil and gas company.
With takeover talk supporting the shares until the end of the spring, it is hard to see how they can go much higher. Time to take profits.