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Commentary: Oil price, Union Jack, GKP, Camarco


WTI (May-42c$73.81 +$3.55, Brent (May) $78.12 +$3.13, Diff -$5.31 -42c
USNG (Apr) $2.08 -13c, UKNG (Apr) 102.0p -1.0p, TTF (Apr) €41.105 -€1.14

Oil price

Oil rallied sharply yesterday, firstly as the physicals took effect, upstream the Iraqi pipeline to Turkey stays down with its 400/- b/d off the market and downstream with France back in turmoil today and refineries shut and the product market grounded.

Elsewhere with SVB being rescued in the US other banking problems appear to be being trimmed as more commentators predict being near the top of the interest rate cycle and the dollar under pressure.

Union Jack Oil

Union Jack has declared an interim dividend to shareholders.

The financial position of Union Jack during 2022 and the first quarter of 2023, has been transformational and, following a thorough review of the capital requirements of the Company’s business operations, organic growth options and other considerations, the Board has decided it is both timely and appropriate to make a further distribution, in the form of an interim dividend.

Dividend Declared
The Board declares an interim dividend of 0.3 pence per ordinary share with a London Stock Exchange ex-dividend date of Thursday 6 July 2023, a record date of Friday 7 July 2023 and payment date of 28 July 2023.

Share Buyback Programme
The Board has also implemented a share buyback programme, funded from the Company’s existing cash resources and within the limitations of the authority granted by shareholders at the 2021 Annual General Meeting, held during June 2022.

As at 27 March 2023, the Company has purchased a total of 2,825,000 ordinary shares in open market transactions, with the timing of share buybacks dependent on market conditions, share price, trading volumes and the Company’s Capital Allocation and Distribution Policy criteria.

The Company has placed the ordinary shares purchased into treasury.  Ordinary shares held in treasury are not entitled to voting rights or dividend payments, the result of which increases the earnings per share going forward.

Executive Chairman of Union Jack, David Bramhill commented:
“Union Jack’s financial position has been transformational and the Company has a robust balance sheet, a fully funded and active work programme for its principal projects and has no borrowings.  The current cash, receivables and liquid investments are in excess of £10,500,000, as at 27 March 2023.

“Our Capital Allocation and Distribution Policy and current excess cash position allowed the Company to pay a maiden special dividend of 0.8 pence in December 2022 and to now declare an interim dividend of 0.3 pence which, when both dividends are combined, equates to a gross yield over and above the current Bank of England Base Rate at the current share price.  In addition to dividends, we have also undertaken selective share buybacks, all of which signal Union Jack has an active capital distribution policy that is made possible because it is underpinned by the significant progress we have achieved during the past year.

“Any and all future dividends and share buybacks will be reviewed and determined in line with the Company’s Capital Allocation and Distribution Policy criteria to ensure the resulting distribution is in the interests of shareholders.”

How things change and as UJO joins the group of multiple dividend payers the company can genuinely be said to be joining the ‘list’ as it used to be called and for some investors it is only now that it is investible. Having a yield is going to be very important for UJO.

Actually it shows what a strong position the company is with its Wressle asset throwing off cash and a number of most exciting projects in the portfolio. With £10+ in the bank and strong management keeping a tight control of the balance sheet UJO is swiftly becoming a key part of the Bucket List. 

Gulf Keystone Petroleum

I promised that as soon as I was able to track down GKP I would revert with their comments about the closure of the Iraqi-Turkey pipeline announced yesterday. 

Speaking to me this afternoon I was told a very similar story, despite the current and hopefully temporary outage the payouts to shareholders will continue. For GKP that means that their latest divvi which goes to the AGM for approval on 16th June will then be paid in July as announced. 

To confirm, that I agree with both companies that it can only be a good thing that the KRG and Baghdad are talking to each other and that it is in no ones interest for all this crude to be off the market. 


APCO has bought London-based financial comms agency Camarco, with plans to expand Camarco’s reach to “other leading financial centers around the world”. (PR Week reports)

Financial details of the acquisition were not disclosed, although Bloomberg estimates the total value of the deal to be more than £20m.

It becomes APCO’s second acquisition this month, following that of management consulting firm Gagen MacDonald.

Camarco was founded in 2014 by a group of former FTI staff including three MDs and Geoffrey Pelham-Lane, Thomas Cook’s former group head of investor relations, who is the agency’s CEO.

The firm, which has more than 40 staff, specialises in financial comms, investor relations, corporate comms and debt restructuring & litigation, alongside ESG comms, digital comms, campaigns and crisis management.

APCO said in a statement today: “Combining the firms will enable Camarco’s teams to tap into APCO’s global reach and deep expertise in corporate advisory and advocacy while bringing invaluable capabilities in investor relations and financial communications.”

APCO said it plans to “leverage its global team to expand Camarco’s presence—anchored in London—to other leading financial centers around the world”, delivering “end-to-end advisory and advocacy services for global clients and provide support throughout the lifecycle of corporate transactions”.

APCO CEO Brad Staples said: 
“Camarco has a proven track record of helping clients—companies in the FTSE 100, FTSE 250, multi-national, European-listed and private companies—navigate complex stakeholder issues, risks and opportunities and execute business strategies that boost valuation. Supported by a team of experts with decades of experience and established influential networks, Camarco provides a disciplined approach to execute and deliver at the highest level.”

Pelham-Lane said: 
“APCO and Camarco share a host of common values, including our client-centric commitment and belief in the power of highly collaborative teams that is truly distinctive in our part of the market.

“We have pursued the principle of employee ownership right from the start, and equity was widely distributed with every member of the Camarco team benefiting. We are all extremely excited to combine our and APCO’s capabilities into a powerful blend of integrated solutions that will be highly appealing to boardrooms across the world.”

In reference to the two acquisitions in March, APCO said today: “These additions demonstrate APCO’s ambitious growth and development plans to further solidify its position as an industry leader and innovator.”

The Camarco team is set to move into APCO’s London office on 40 Strand in June. A spokesperson said the founders’ roles will stay the same, with Pelham-Lane continuing as CEO and Billy Clegg and Ed Gascoigne-Pees remaining as deputies. “The leaders of the different Camarco industry and service verticals will stay the same and all of the employees will retain their roles in APCO.”

US-headquartered APCO, which was founded by Margery Kraus, has a global headcount of more than 1,100 in more than 30 markets.

APCO posted a 21 per cent increase in revenue globally to $172m in 2021, according to PRWeek’s Agency Business Report 2022. The UK business had 72 staff at the end of 2021, with revenue that year of £11.7m, the PRWeek UK Top 150 Consultancies table shows.

For many companies in the energy sector Camarco has been the first stop for its Investor Relations advice and now it has received the sort of takeover it advises on. Moving out of the square mile will be a shame but I’m sure its not the last we will see of them…

KeyFacts Energy Industry Directory: Malcy's Blog

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