Ascent Resources Plc (LON: AST) the onshore European independent oil and gas exploration and production company, is pleased to provide an update on its forward corporate strategy, announce an issue of equity and provide an update on the recent placing and resulting TVR.
Existing European Strategy
The Company notes the election of a new government in Slovenia, where its principal current asset, the Petišovci gas field, is located.
Following the recent approval of the Company restructuring, the newly appointed Board is in the process of reviewing the Company's asset in Slovenia, and in particular the Company's positioning with its joint venture partners and stakeholders in country. An announcement will be made in this regard following meetings with key relationships in country which are being scheduled, subject to Coronavirus-related European travel restrictions.
As part of its ongoing strategic review in Europe, the Company is pleased to confirm that given its existing skill sets and regional relationships, it continues to evaluate multiple opportunities to grow its European footprint, including in neighbouring Central Eastern European countries and in the United Kingdom.
Caribbean and Hispanic America New-Entry Strategy
As part of an expanded international strategic review, the Company has also identified the Caribbean and Hispanic America region as highly prospective for oil and gas, and a region where the new team's industry experience, existing relationships and skill set can add value for shareholders. The Company is focused initially on attractive production and appraisal portfolios and views the current low oil price environment as an opportunity to secure advantageous entry terms. It also notes recent legislative and licence changes to encourage foreign investment with attractive fiscal terms, reduced tax rates and tax holidays in some jurisdictions. With this expanded international strategy in mind, a new subsidiary of the Company is being launched, Ascent Hispanic Ventures, which will be the subsidiary vehicle for growth opportunities in this region. We expect Ascent will benefit from a counter cyclical early mover advantage as one of the few active foreign independent E&P companies in the region.
The Company looks forward to updating investors as appropriate as negotiations on these new initiatives progress.
Issue of Equity
The Company, consistent with its policy to preserve its substantial cash balance for acquisitions and upstream operations, has issued 166,666 shares to exiting directors at a price of 5p per share in lieu of cash settlement and a further 390,000 shares at a price of 5p each per share and 214,286 shares at a price of 3.5p each to select professional advisors. The Company has also awarded 424,482 warrants to select professional advisors at a strike price of 5p per warrant, the warrants have a three year vesting, and expire after five years. Application has been made for the 770,952 new Ordinary Shares being issued to be admitted to trading on AIM which is expected to occur on 30 March 2020 ("Admission").
Placing Update / Correction
Further to the announcement made on 13 March 2020, the Company also announces a correction to the total funds received which currently amounts to £485k with 9,700,000 new ordinary shares having been issued. The Company has taken legal advice in relation to the further committed funds of £200k in respect of which payment has not yet been received and confirms that this further commitment is legally enforceable. In the event that the funds are not received from the relevant investor (an FCA regulated institution), the Company intends to commence legal proceedings in respect of the amount due. This is done to protect the interests of existing shareholders in the current market.
Total Voting Rights
The Company further announces that the total number of Ordinary shares in issue as at 13 March 2020 was 39,896,484. This is a correction to the figure per the announcement of 13 March 2020. Therefore the total issued share capital with voting rights of the Company as at 13 March 2020 stood at 39,896,484.
Following the allotment of 770,952 new Ordinary shares the Company's total issued share capital as at 30 March 2020 will consist of 40,667,436 Ordinary shares of 0.5 pence each. This figure may be used by shareholders in the Company as the denominator for the calculations by which they will determine if they are required to notify their interest in, or change in their interest in, the share capital of the Company pursuant to the FCA's Disclosure Guidance and Transparency Rules.
Company Secretary Appointment
As the first of a series of staffing changes in preparation for its new journey post the recent restructuring, the Company also announces the appointment, with immediate effect, of AMBA Secretaries Limited, as Company Secretary.