British Virgin Islands-based Levine Capital Management, headed by Imperial Energy founder Peter Levine, is putting up £5.6 million of the money and Evolution Securities is underwriting a £1.3 million open offer to existing shareholders at the same price. Chairman Stephen Gutteridge says this new fundraising will give AIM-quoted Meridian/President, which lost a first half £1.1 million, adequate finance, including a £22 million acquisition facility from Australia’s Macquarie Bank, to achieve the desired status of a ‘mid-cap exploration and production company with…a strategic presence in key areas of interest’.
The London-based company, which sees its dwindling producing assets in the USA as a ‘short-term cash generator’, has already confirmed prospective resources of 630 billion cubic feet of natural gas or 430 million barrels of oil at its PEL 82 licence in South Australia. But Gutteridge says these assets, ‘though attractive’, add up to a ‘limited asset portfolio and argues Meridian/President will need to acquire ‘further large, good quality assets’ to ‘create value on a major scale’.
To help in this quest, the company proposes to appoint experienced oil and gas man Dr Michael Cochran, senior technical adviser to Levine Capital Management, as exploration director. Gutteridge and his colleagues also want to appoint another top Levine figure, John Hamilton, and Christopher Hopkinson, Imperial energy’s ex-chief executive officer, as non-executive directors.