HDR hardman resources limited


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    Hardman Resources Share Sale Falls 36% Short of Maximum Target
    By Angela Macdonald-Smith

    Perth, Australia, Oct. 4 (Bloomberg) -- Hardman Resources Ltd., a Perth-based oil explorer focusing on Mauritania in West Africa, said it raised A$25.7 million through the sale of new stock, 36 percent less than its maximum target.

    Hardman intended to raise as much as A$39.9 million, representing 15 percent of its issued share capital before the sale of new stock, to fund a plan to expand its drilling program in Mauritania next year.

    Hardman sold 36.7 million shares at 70 Australian cents apiece. Woodside Petroleum Ltd. bought 10 million shares, raising its stake in Hardman to 11.4 percent from 9.8 percent prior to the share sale, said Hardman's Company Secretary Kathryn Davies. About 10.5 million shares were sold to investors in Europe and the U.K.

    ``The response from London investors was slightly disappointing given what seems to have been a reasonable take-up by Australian investors,'' said Gavin Wendt, mining analyst at Intersuisse Ltd., one of Hardman's brokers.

    The new shares were sold mostly to institutions in the U.K., Europe and Australia, Hardman said in a statement to the Australian Stock Exchange.

    Hardman shares, which were placed on a trading halt on Wednesday pending completion of the share sale, were unchanged at 72 cents on the Australian Stock Exchange at 11:40 a.m. Sydney time.

    Better Understanding

    Hardman listed its shares on London's Alternative Investment Market last March. Hardman Managing Director Ted Ellyard said at the time he was hoping to attract institutional investors in London because they have a better understanding than their Australian counterparts of oil exploration in Africa.

    Hardman isn't concerned about the response to the share sale in the U.K. and Europe, Davies said.

    ``Actually we're not disappointed,'' she said. ``We think it's a really good result, especially in this market.''

    The proceeds from the share sale takes Hardman's available cash to A$66 million, which will be ``more than enough'' to fund next year's drilling program, Davies said.

    The Woodside Petroleum-led exploration venture in Mauritania, in which Hardman is a minority partner, hasn't yet decided on the drilling program for next year, Davies said.

    Woodside said earlier this week that the joint venture has now drilled three prospects offshore Mauritania and has made two promising discoveries, increasing its optimism for the area.

    The share sale was coordinated by Canaccord Capital (Europe) Ltd., Macquarie Equity Capital Markets Ltd. and Intersuisse.

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