Newswatch – Lasmo’s Oil on troubled waters

Oil company Lasmo will today unveil its first half-year report since it merged with rival Monument Oil, creating a £2bn company slightly smaller than the UK’s leading independent, Enterprise Oil.

The £550m merger was expected to make savings of up to #7m following the integration of the two businesses.

Additionally, Monument’s healthy balance sheet was expected to boost the enlarged group’s finances and it was thought that the blend of assets and contracts would also make the group stronger.

Lasmo has claimed the transaction created financial flexibility and strengthened the group’s position due to assets overlapping in the two companies.

At Lasmo’s agm in April, chairman Rudolph Agnew pointed to the ‘toughest 12 months’ in the history of the industry following the collapse of oil prices.

Despite the disappointing share price during that period, Agnew said Lasmo was in a ‘strong position’ to face the future and had the strategy and assets to provide attractive returns to shareholders.

‘We are in no doubt that further challenges lie ahead over the coming months and years, but we believe that we are well placed to thrive in the good times and carefully manage our business through the more difficult times,’ Agnew told shareholders.

Since the start of the year, strengthening of oil prices and a rise of around 40% in Lasmo’s share price should have provided comfort for finance director Paul Murray.

Following the merger, Liz Airey, the Monument FD chose to stand down to make way for Murray, who is also her partner in private life.

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