Irish company Circle Oil pulls shares from stock exchange

Company stumbling to regain traction after a troubling year in 2015.

By Daniel J. Graeber

CORK, Ireland, June 29 (UPI) -- Irish exploration company Circle Oil said Wednesday it pulled its shares off the market after steep declines in revenue and funding reconsiderations.

The company in March embarked on a strategic review, with a potential sale offering or merger with a third party among the options. In a statement Wednesday, the company said that process is still ongoing, though directors said it may be likely that equity holders will get no value from whatever emerges.


The company said its financial position is under "significant" pressure.

"Accordingly, the company has requested a suspension of its shares from trading on the AIM market of the London Stock Exchange with immediate effect on the grounds of financial uncertainty," it said in a statement.

When oil prices were holding above $100 per barrel in 2014, the company said it was "very pleased" with its prospects in Morocco in particular. The 12 locations chosen at the time for potential development by Circle Oil had an estimated 25 billion cubic feet of gas reserves in place.

Morocco holds about 20 trillion cubic feet of recoverable shale oil and natural gas reserves, though remains a net importer of fossil fuels. Oil prices started to collapse last year and that pressure has presented major challenges for Circle's future operations.


"2015 has been a challenging year for the industry and Circle has not been alone in focusing on the reduction of its cost base, capital expenditure commitments and its available liquidity," Chairman Stephen Jenkins said in a statement.

At $57.5 million, the chairman said the short-term debt obligation was significant. Some of the pressure, he added, was from an "unpredictable" payment schedule from its Egyptian clients.

In its full-year 2015 results, the company reported oil and gas revenues were 54 percent lower to $38.9 million, a loss Circle attributed to lower oil prices. Cash generated from ongoing operations was down 53 percent year-on-year to $26.8 million.

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