If there is one topic guaranteed to start a row at ShareProphets HQ it is Gulf Keystone Petroleum (GKP). We all know who is on which side and so far I’ve been fighting a losing battle. The collapse in the oil price has hurt this company, but possibly not as much as the specific challenges it faces in getting paid for the oil it produces (oh, and let’s not forget the rampaging nutters currently marauding through the region). On Friday, Gulf disappointed the market with news it had suspended oil exports, pending resolution of a “stable payment cycle”. The share price dropped sharply to settle just above the 52-week low, but are things as bad as the market implies?
It is always extremely difficult to pass comment on companies from the outside, without really knowing what has happened behind closed boardroom doors. Even so, I am as certain as I can be that my call last month, that M&G Investment Management was preparing to dump Todd Kozel from Gulf Keystone’s (GKP) board at today’s AGM, has come to pass. We’ve just heard that Mr Kozel has withdrawn his bid for re-election to Gulf’s board, but with this announcement coming immediately before the AGM, I think we can all be fairly safe in assuming it was a case of his jumping before being pushed. Even though Mr Kozel is going to remain as an officer of the company, his departure from the board is a welcome step in the right direction and I am more bullish on Gulf’s prospects as a result.
The Sheriff of AIM is feeling rather fragile today in the wake of the AIM Cesspit awards dinner. Do not expect a great deal of output from me today. I had a good time and think that others did too. The wine and beer flowed freely, Evil and Lucian Miers gave good talks and David Lenigas pitched in with his thoughts on Nomads. A brave Quindell (QPP) shareholder turned up and was teased a bit but took it well. But you want to know who won.
Shares in Gulf Keystone (GKP) have soared in recent days partly on hopes that Todd Kozel would be given the boot at the AGM on 17th July but also on speculation that the company could receive a takeover approach. We understand from a reliable source that there will be no bid.
As the market works itself up into a lather about the prospect of a bid for Gulf Keystone Petroleum (GKP), the significance of Wednesday’s events appear to have been missed by most shareholders. The headline news was Todd Kozel’s retirement as CEO of the company and his plan to remain as an executive director. The assumption appears to be Mr Kozel will see his wish granted in the vote held on his reappointment, at the AGM on July 17th. I’m not so sure. The departure of three of the four non-executive directors, whom M&G Investment Mgt managed to get appointed to Gulf’s board immediately before the last AGM, surely signals an escalation in the boardroom conflict that has plagued Gulf for too long. And now M&G is no longer playing nice...
It now looks like the recent weakness in Gulf Keystone’s (GKP) share price has been caused by not one, but two civil wars. I covered events in northern Iraq a fortnight ago, yet it is boardroom infighting that is once again the greater concern. Greed does funny things to people and it is high time the directors of Gulf grew up and got their acts together. Failing that, they should just take off their shirts and go and wrestle in the car park until one side cries uncle. Anything would be better than having to watch this never-ending struggle for control of the company.
A difficult week for Gulf Keystone’s (GKP) shareholders finished off with what looks like a positive production update concerning the company’s prolific Shaikan license in Kurdistan. Yesterday, I spoke with the company to confirm a few facts surrounding the latest RNS. In particular I wanted to seek clarification concerning the issues I raised a month ago about the discrepancy between Gulf’s CPR production target for 2014 and the targets the company has since provided, after a few months of operations. In short there has been a reduction in expectations, but this isn’t necessarily bad news, as I explain below. The main point I took away from my conversation was that the company genuinely believes it is on course to deliver its 40,000bopd production target by the end of this year.
So many to choose from and so little time to think – who am I nominating for these prestigious awards? Ultimately it is down to you, the investing public to vote on who wins, but for what it is worth my nominations have been:
Oh dear, oh dear, today’s trading statement from Gulf Keystone (GKP) is a bit of a dog’s doo doo. I fear that the bears will enjoy it and having suggested that the stock might be a trading buy on the basis that grossly overpaid CEO Todd Kozel might be about to get his P45, I now revert to my normal sell stance – so far utterly vindicated with the share price having dived today to 91p.