Paladin Resources PLC
16 January 2004
Paladin Resources plc
("Paladin", "the Company" or "the Group")
Pre-Close Period Trading Statement
Paladin Resources plc, the oil and gas exploration company with interests in the
UK, Norwegian and Danish sectors of the North Sea, Indonesia, Romania and
Tunisia, will announce its preliminary results for the year ending 31 December
2003 on 24 March 2004.
Prior to entering the close period in advance of these results, Paladin is
pleased to provide the following guidance in respect of the Company's
performance in 2003 and its prospects for 2004.
Group production for 2003 averaged approximately 42,000 boepd, a 44 per cent
increase over the 29,117 boepd achieved in 2002. Production figures are subject
to final reconciliation, particularly in respect of the Company's Indonesian
interests, where the Company reports on an entitlement barrel basis.
In line with the announcement made by the Company on 12 November 2003, Group
production in 2004 is expected to be some 10 per cent higher than in 2003, with
production since the beginning of January 2004 averaging 48,000 boepd. These
higher levels are the direct result of a marked improvement in the operational
uptime of the Paladin-operated Montrose, Arbroath and Arkwright Fields since the
acquisition of our interests in those assets in May 2003, combined with an
active investment programme in a number of the Group's other assets.
Realised prices for 2003 averaged US$28.15 per boe (2002: US$23.85 per boe),
excluding the effect of hedging. The impact of higher prices on the Group's
financial performance was significantly offset by a weaker US dollar, which
averaged US$1.63: £1 compared with US$1.50: £1 for 2002.
Earnings for 2003 are expected to be approximately £29 million, before a £2
million write-off in respect of unsuccessful exploration costs in the Company's
Romanian interests, (2002: earnings of £20.1 million).
Net debt at year-end was approximately £110 million, inclusive of £6 million
finance lease liabilities.
In 2004, the Group plans to invest some £75 million on its existing assets, of
which approximately half will be spent on its operated UK interests. The Company
also anticipates committing approximately £11 million to exploration activities.
Roy Franklin, Chief Executive of Paladin, commented:
"2003 has been another excellent year for the Company and we are set to make
further good progress in 2004. An active drilling programme on our Montrose and
Arbroath Fields and first gas from the Goldeneye Field in the third quarter of
the year will boost 2004 production, while today's announcement regarding the
Company's increased stake in the Blane Field presents us with an exciting
development opportunity. In addition, we have an exploration programme planned
which should see the Company participating in up to seven exploration wells in
the UK, Norway, Denmark and Tunisia."
The information provided above in respect of the Company's performance in 2003
is indicative, subject to final review and has not been audited. This
announcement also contains forward-looking statements that are subject to risk
factors associated with the oil and gas business.
It is believed that the expectations reflected in these statements are
reasonable, but they may be affected by a number of factors which could cause
actual results or trends to differ materially. These include but are not limited
to: price fluctuations, actual demand, currency fluctuations, drilling and
production results, reserve estimates, loss of market, industry competition,
environmental risks, physical risks, legislative, fiscal and regulatory
developments, economic and financial market conditions in various countries and
regions, political risks, project delay or advancement, approvals and cost
16 January 2004
Paladin Resources plc Tel: 020 7024 4500
Roy A. Franklin, Chief Executive
Cuth McDowell, Finance Director
College Hill Tel: 020 7457 2020
This information is provided by RNS
The company news service from the London Stock Exchange