Fur­long in­creases Prov­i­dence bet

The Irish Times - Business - - MARKETS - JOE BREN­NAN

Busi­ness­man Nick Fur­long’s in­vest­ment com­pany Pageant Hold­ings, which took part in a res­cue fundrais­ing at Prov­i­dence Re­sources last year, has moved to snap up shares in the oil and gas ex­plorer as they slumped on Mon­day af­ter its lat­est drilling ac­tiv­ity hit wa­ter-bear­ing sands.

Prov­i­dence Re­sources, led by Tony O’Reilly jnr, dis­closed yes­ter­day that Pageant had in­creased its stake in the com­pany to 9.7 per cent.

The in­vest­ment firm had moved in early Au­gust to hike its po­si­tion from 7.45 per cent to 8.25 per cent, im­me­di­ately af­ter the stock plum­meted as drilling at its Druid prospect – 1,000m above the Drombeg well that was the source of Mon­day’s mar­ket dis­ap­point­ment – had torn a “por­ous wa­ter-bear­ing reser­voir”.

Pageant Hold­ings, which seeks out value in out-of-favour stocks and sec­tors, is now Prov­i­dence’s sec­ond-largest share­holder, af­ter Lon­don-based M&G In­vest­ment Man­age­ment.

Both had par­tic­i­pated in a $70 mil­lion emer­gency fundrais­ing in the com­pany in July last year to raise funds to pay off debt and a le­gal bill, al­low it to drill at Druid and Drombeg, and give it breath­ing space to find a part­ner for its Bar­ry­roe ex­plo­ration site.

Bar­ry­roe, close to the ex­hausted Kin­sale Head gas field off the Cork coast, was found in 2012 to have more than 300 mil­lion bar­rels of re­cov­er­able oil.

A pre­vi­ous “farm-out” agree­ment for the project fell through in 2014 as the cho­sen part­ner, known to be Se­qua Petroleum, failed to raise the nec­es­sary money to par­tic­i­pate.

Mr O’Reilly said on Mon­day that Bar­ry­roe was the com­pany’s next well in its offshore drilling pro­gramme.

Mr Fur­long traces much of his wealth back to the sale of his Pil­ton video games and DVD dis­trib­u­tor to DCC in 2005 for €42.5 mil­lion.

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