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Mergers and acquisitions strengthen
March, 06th 2010

The fourth quarter of last years reporting season drives home the point that size matters in the oil and gas sector.

According to CIMB Investment Bank Bhd (CIMB Investment), cash rich companies were looking to flex their financial muscles and snap up attractive assets this year.

It pointed out Kencana Petroleum Bhd was building a war chest while Petronas Dagangan Bhd might tap its RM1 billion cash pile for acquisitions and Wah Seong Corporation Bhd was eyeing depressed assets in West Africa and Europe.

The research house expected that the news flow to be active this year with close to RM10 billion worth of contracts up for grabs in Malaysia, India, Papua New Guinea and Australia would potentially lead to share price re-ratings.

It added that SapuraCrest Petroleum Bhd (SapuraCrest) currently topped the order book list with RM15.5 billion.

Meanwhile, CIMB Investment stated that the oil and gas sectors fourth quarter performance last year was broadly in line with expectations with five of the seven companies in its portfolio meeting its forecast.

It observed two trends during the quarter that were higher demand for services fuelled record net profits and the performance of petroleum retailers and refiners continued to improve. The research house observed that the sector was anchored by swelling order books and prudent management.

CIMB Investment pointed out that an expanding order book, geographical expansion, new strategic assets and higher charter rate underpinned its view that SapuraCrests annual net profits would scale new highs from 2010 to 2012.

It stated that the company remained as Outperform and its top oil and gas pick.

The research house was encouraged by the sectors fourth quarter performance last year.

It stated that all signs were now pointing to a stronger set of numbers this year.

It added that a steady oil price of around US$80 per barrel was favourable for the sector.

The research house also stated that an improving economic environment meant that companies should benefit from the recovery of global economies which would lead to the burning of more fuel.

CIMB Investment pointed out that merger and acquisition (M&A) possibilities added to the sectors attraction.

It added that all its stock recommendations, earnings forecast and target prices were also unchanged.

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