Small Cap Monitor:

Kupe Gas Project To Drill New Well.
March 28th. 2008 - Australasian Investment Review – (AIR)

Delevopers of New Zealand’s Kupe Gas Project said today they are set to undertake exploration drilling of the Momoho prospect, 6 kilometres south of the Kupe Gas Field and within the Kupe permit area.

In a statement to the media, Origin Energy and Kupe Gas Project said as the drilling of the Kupe development wells near completion, the Joint Venture parties are planning to test the Momoho prospect prior to releasing the Ensco 107 drilling rig.

The company said in the event that Momoho is a commercial discovery it is possible that a development may be able to be connected to the Kupe platform.

“There are never any guarantees with this kind of exploration, but we believe the Momoho prospect could have the potential to extend the gas supply available to the Kupe Gas Project, with significant benefits for the region and for New Zealand,” Kupe Gas Project director Peter Ashford said.

Located south of New Zealand’s Taranaki peninsula, the Kupe field will play a major role in helping New Zealand meet its increased gas needs.

The parties involved in the venture are Origin Energy Resources (Kupe) Ltd with 50% interest,Genesis Power Limited with 31% interest, New Zealand Oil and Gas Limited with 15% and Mitsui E & P (New Zealand) Limited with 4%.

Completion of the Kupe Gas Project is expected in mid-2009 and will provide New Zealand with about 254 petajoules of natural gas, 1.1 million tonnes of LPG and 14.7 million barrels of light oil.

By introducing a new and alternative supply of gas, the Kupe Gas Project will make a significant contribution towards meeting New Zealand’s gas supply for between 15 and 20 years.

The drilling at Momoho is planned to begin in May.

Shares in ORG ended 6 cents up at $9.09.

NAB Gains $221 From VISA IPO.

National Australian Bank (NAB) is the last of the big four banks to declare its gain from the Visa IPO, reporting an after- tax gain of $221 million.

NAB said it made an after-tax gain of about $221 million which comprises amounts of $181 million and $40 million arising in its Australian and New Zealand businesses respectively.

Banks all over the world freed up shares for the float, to allow Visa to proceed with the listing without issuing more shares, a step which would have diluted the value of the existing shares.

“The majority of the gain will be offset through the creation of a one-off central bad and doubtful debt provision against the current uncertain global economic environment,” the bank said in a statement.

“This action will further strengthen the NAB balance sheet and better position NAB to withstand any future economic volatility. The remainder will be used to fund a new organic business development initiative around a deposit-focused stardirect on-line banking offer. This will not be used to fund business as usual operating expenditure.”

The Commonwealth Bank declared a gain of $355 million after it sold 51% of its Visa shares into the IPO, and St George said it is to realise a gain of $75 million before tax in its half-year results due out on Monday, in which it will be treated as a significant item.

Westpac said it gained $270 million last week, and ANZ made a $350 million gain.

Commonwealth Bank gained 40 cents to $42.71, ANZ fell rose 67 cents to $23.18, Westpac was down 68 cents to $23.90, National Australia Bank shed 79 cents to $29.96 and St George Bank shed $1 to $25.82.

Will A Change Of Name Save MFS?

Troubled property finance business, MFS, has received approval from its shareholders today to change its name to Octaviar Limited.

In its extraordinary meeting held in Melbourne this morning, shareholders voted the new name in, which will launched along with a new brand and corporate imagery.

It’s mostly retail shareholders were reassured by management, which revealed a new strategy and direction, that they aim to restore underlying investor confidence.

In an attempt to overcome its unsuccessful growth strategy, MFS said its new strategic review will set out to urgently address the detrimental impact on shareholder value.

MFS said the downturn in global financial markets and short selling of its shares, as well as the lack of confidence in MFS’ ability to repay short term debt commitments were amongst the factors impacting the previous growth strategy.

Chairman Andrew Peacock revealed he would be standing down from his post in May and that the company would release its long-awaited half-year results in April.

New chief executive officer Craig White said all margin loans relating to MFS shareholdings in other companies had been repaid.

As well, all previous short term debt obligations had been repaid.

In the last year, the value of MFS securities have dropped by 80%, greatly affecting its mostly retail shareholder base.

Shares in MFS have been in a trading halt since 18 January, and last traded at 99 cents.

MFS said its strategic review will focus on stabilising the business, restoring shareholder value and underlying investor confidence.

This article is contributed by Australasian Investment Review – (AIR) You can subscribe for their free newsletter at

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