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Sharewatch: Dana Petroleum

The Sunday Times

April 12, 2009

It’s still a long way off last year’s high of £20.04, but shares in Aberdeen-based Dana Petroleum spiked from £8.60 in February to £11.82 at the close of play last week.

Part of the reason is continuing takeover speculation relating to North Sea oil and gas exploration minnows as lower crude prices drag down equity values.

BP and Royal Dutch Shell are just two of the big producers eyeing smaller competitors as the majors look to replenish reserves through acquisition instead of exploration.

But Dana is also producing a lot of good business news. This week its £119m acquisition of Canada’s Bow Valley Energy received court and shareholder approval in Alberta. And last month Dana unveiled full-year pre-tax profits for 2008 of £191m, a 34% increase, on the back of a 66% jump in sales to £518m.

It also revealed a strong balance sheet. At the end of last year the group said it had £158.9m in cash and a net cash position of £43.2m, while cash generated from its operations soared 75% to £345m.

The group’s proven and probable reserves came in at 194.1m barrels of oil equivalent (BOE) for 2008, up from 164.8 in the previous year. The Bow Valley deal is expected to add about 11.3m BOE to Dana’s reserves.

Be it down to takeover speculation or continuing success in its business, Dana’s price looks set to continue its steady ascent for a while yet.

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