Major Limerick oil company in voluntary liquidation

Anne Sheridan

Reporter:

Anne Sheridan

Circle Oil Plc, which once had a net worth of €231 million, has gone into voluntary liquidation

Circle Oil Plc, which once had a net worth of €231 million, has gone into voluntary liquidation

THE LIMERICK based oil and gas exploration company Circle Oil Plc, which once had a net worth of €231 million, has gone into voluntary liquidation.

Declan McDonald and Brendan Lynch, of Pricewaterhouse Coopers, have been appointed joint liquidators to the company.

Creditors have been advised to send particulars of their debts and claims to PwC by October 31 next, as the company is being voluntarily wound up.

Documents submitted by PwC to the Companies Registration Office show that its directors have now resigned, after an extraordinary general meeting was called in the Gresham Hotel in Dublin.

Last year the company conducted a strategic review to put in place a “sustainable long term financing structure” for the business.

At that time, the company said it was considering “a number of options” to reduce debt and ensure it has sufficient cash flows to fund future operations.

This included a debt restructuring, a sale of some of its assets, but stressed that its financial position would remain under “significant pressure”  given the infrequent and unpredictable payments from the Egyptian General Petroleum Corporation (EGPC).

Chairman Stephen Jenkins, in the last available company accounts for the end of 2015, described these payments as ‘volatile’ and exasperating its liquidity situation.

“Oil and gas revenues were down by 54% to $38.95 million as a result of lower oil prices, a strengthening US dollar against the Moroccan dirham and reduction in production in both Egypt and and Morocco,” stated Mr Jenkins.

Mr Jenkins said while the group had received a number of proposals, after taking into account the group’s debt position, the directors believed that it was now likely that there will be no value attributable to its equity holders.

Primarily focused on Morocco, Tunisia, Oman and Egypt, in 2015 it consolidated its positions in Morocco and Egypt and withdrew from Oman. Accounts for 2015 show that it made a loss of €110 million.

This was down from a net profit of €27 million in 2013.