Beach bows out of Warrego bidding war
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Punters hoping for a bidding war between two companies backed by Australian billionaires Gina Rinehart and Kerry Stokes for the right to acquire Warrego Energy (ASX:WGO) will be disappointed after Stokes-backed Beach Energy (ASX:BPT) decided to pull out.
And while it’s entirely possible that another suitor might appear, investors will have to content themselves with Hancock Energy’s 28c per share bid, which we should point out is still a fair chunk higher than its original 23c per share bid, Beach’s last 25c bid, and most certainly Warrego’s last share price of 17.5c before Strike Energy’s (ASX:STX) original offer.
In fact, the only real losers are those who picked up shares above Hancock’s offer in hopes that the bidding war would continue, which while possible, would have stretched how comfortable a potential buyer would be willing to pay for Warrego’s gas resources.
Even Strike, whose all-scrip offer has been left behind, is likely to benefit given that it is Warrego’s single largest shareholder with a 19.9% stake in the company.
Beach also gets to paint a rosy picture about its scuttled bid, with its chief executive officer Morné Engelbrecht saying the bidding process has “reinforced our view of the value of our dominant acreage position in the Perth Basin”.
He’s right too – from a certain point of view.
The ongoing energy crisis in the world has really underscored the value of gas assets, which have experienced years of underinvestment and are now – to the chagrin of the green lobby – been snapped up in the mad scramble to secure energy supplies.
Beach certainly has a sizeable portfolio in the Perth Basin alone with 574 petajoules of Proved and Probable gas reserves along with another 222PJ in best estimate (2C) Contingent Resources waiting in the sidelines.
This is accompanied by existing gas production with further capacity under construction, more exploration lined up, and a unique gas export licence for Waitsia Stage 2.
Meanwhile, oil prices have slumped on expectations that the US$60 per barrel price cap on Russian exports would have little impact on crude availability.
Rather, it is the growing expectation of a recession and its accompanying reduction in consumption that has led front-month Brent future prices to fall to less than US$78/bbl from a recent high over US$98/bbl just a month ago, according to Reuters.
Spot prices have also collapsed with Brent crude now priced at just US$76.39/bbl, which are signs of a cyclical downturn in the oil market and the onset of a business cycle slowdown or recession.