Market report: Hayward in hot water as Genel Energy sounds revenue warning

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It’s been anything but plain sailing at Genel Energy for chairman Tony Hayward.

The former BP boss, who became the most hated man in America five years ago after he was snapped sailing his yacht shortly after the Gulf of Mexico oil spill, has found the going tough in his first small company venture, which he began with financier Nat Rothschild, amid the oil price slump. 

The business, which produces oil in the Kurdistan region of northern Iraq, has suffered as the regional government struggles to finance its fight against IS. It is still owed hundreds of millions of dollars in payments for exports.

The shares crashed 11%, down 13.5p, to an all-time low of 110.5p, valuing the company at just £300 million, after it warned investors to expect lower revenues of between $200 million and $275 million (£141 million to £193 million) this year — assuming an optimistic $45 for a barrel of Brent crude — having banked $342 million in 2015.

Hayward and co are said to be keen to find a buyer so that they can flee the sinking ship, with speculation swirling that it could merge with Africa-focused New Age. Gulf Keystone, another London-listed, Iraq-focused oil explorer, slumped 0.57p, or 4.5%, to 12.18p.

Genel’s plunge was lost in a sea of red for London’s stocks, which washed the FTSE 100 176.87 points or 3% lower to 5699.93.

The only blue-chip riser was gold producer Randgold Resources, which shone 17p higher at 4285p, as investors fled to the safe haven of gold.

Pearson crashed 25p to a six-year low of 659.5p as Panmure Gordon slashed its target price to 760p.

Analyst Jonathan Helliwell reckons new chairman Sidney Taurel, who joined at the start of the year, will cut the dividend tomorrow, which he says “does not look sustainable at present levels of earnings”.

Hays was among the least affected by the sell-off, down just 0.1p to 117.5p, after reports suggested Switzerland’s Adecco was considering a 150p-a-share offer for the FTSE 250 recruiter.

On AIM, fastjet rose 4.9p to 70.65p as easyJet founder Sir Stelios Haji- Ioannou increased his stake in the troubled African airline to 12.6%. The entrepreneur plans to vote against the high executive pay at easyHotel at tomorrow’s annual general meeting.

Elsewhere, Science in Sport, which is fronted by British Olympic cycling legend Sir Chris Hoy, rose 0.9p to 53.4p as the sports nutrition group revealed trading was “very strong” in the final quarter, with annual sales up 18% at £9.45 million.

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January 21, 2016 |
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