Woodside Petroleum Shares Rise to 3-Year High, Looking to Make Acquisitions
It's been a good year for Woodside Petroleum. The company shared news of their record-breaking first half profits, sending shares to a three-year high.
The Pluto LNG plant at Karratha was partially responsible for the increase in net profits - the plant began delivering near full capacity. Net profits rose by 27 percent to $1.18 billion, which was on par with industry expectations.
Free cash flow statistics have Woodside Petroleum up 158 percent over the previous year, to $US1.825 billion. The company made also made a huge effort to lower their net debt, dropping it from $US2.25 billion a year ago to $US623 million. Shares increased by 33 cents on the news, to $43.38.
The company's robust balance sheet - one of the healthiest in the business - has investors applauding the strong operational performance, led by Woodside chief Peter Coleman.
“The result shows they now have more capacity for a buyback because they had less debt than some brokers expected and cashflow was above what a few people were expecting,” Plato Investment Management managing director Don Hamson said. “They have a lot of cash and not much to do with it, so I still think a buyback is a good idea.”
Voters vetoed a share buyback Coleman had originally hinted at. The cash was earmarked for a buyback of most of Shell's 13.5 percent stake in Woodside. Hamson was publicly against the Shell buyback, claiming that it would not be fair to all shareholders because all shareholders were not being given the same option.
Coleman is still on the lookout for acquisitions of up to $5 billion, believing that the move would provide much needed growth options. There's a possibility that this can come to fruition as oil majors sell assets and China's appetite for new purchases dwindles.
Woodside declared a record $US1.11 per share interim dividend, up 34 per cent.
Mr Coleman said he would talk to investors in coming weeks to inform the company’s decision on capital management.
“We have a view that M&A opportunities are coming on to the market and they are better priced than what they were two years ago — we’re going to look long and hard at those opportunities,” said Coleman. “This in my view brings a more rational market,” he said. “Their need seems to have been satisfied for the most part and in China and elsewhere they’ve been asked to account for the value of some of their own acquisitions.”
Mr Coleman said the company would continue to look at acquisitions worth up to $US5 billion in the wake of a decision this year to walk away from a deal to enter the Leviathan gas project in Israel.
Information sourced from The Australian.
Timeline: India takes unicorn leap with six in five days
We chart an historic week in India’s tech industry, where in just five days, between 5-9 April 2021, the country achieved six new unicorns, bringing India’s total to 10 in 2021 to date, an immense unicorn leap from just seven in 2020 and six in 2019.
April 5: Meesho
India’s first social commerce unicorn, Meesho raised US$300m from SoftBank, Facebook and Shunwei Capital, giving the Bangalore-based startup a US$2.1bn valuation, a threefold jump from its previous funding round in 2019. Founded in 2015 by two IIT-Delhi graduates, Meesho connects producers and resellers, helping small businesses sell through social media. It has 45m customers and has enabled 13m entrepreneurs to start their online businesses with no investment.
April 6: CRED
Founded just over two years ago, Bangalore-based credit card repayment app CRED raised US$215m from Falcon Edge Capital and Coatue, nearly trebling its valuation to US$2.2bn from its January US$80m round. Allowing customers to pay off their credit card debt while earning CRED coins which they cash in for rewards, CRED has grown rapidly during COVID-19, doubling its customer base to nearly 6 million in a year.
April 7: API Holdings / Groww
The first epharmacy startup to gain unicorn status, PharmEasy (API Holdings), which has digitised 60,000 brick and mortar pharmacies and 400 doctors across India, raised US$350m in a round led by Prosus Ventures. Founded by four former Flipkart employees as a way of making investing simple, investment platform Groww became India’s second-youngest fintech unicorn, raising US$83m in Series D funding led by Tiger Global, quadrupling its previous round in September.
April 8: ShareChat
New Delhi-grown social media startup ShareChat, founded in 2016 by Mohalla Tech raised US$502m from Lightspeed Ventures, Tiger Global, Twitter and Snap taking its raised total over six rounds to US$766m and pushing its valuation to US$2.1bn. The funding will be used to grow its user base and short video platform Moj, which launched in 2020 following TikTok’s ban in India. The regional language startup claims 280m users.
April 9: Gupshup
AI-led conversational message startup joined the unicorn club after raising US$100m from Tiger Global giving it a ten-fold valuation of US$1.4bn. The smart messaging platform, which has seen accelerated growth during the pandemic, was founded in Bangalore in 2005 by serial entrepreneur Beerud Sheth, whose online freelancing platform Elance is now listed. Gupshup’s API enables 100,000+ businesses to build messaging and conversation experiences across 30+ communication channels.