Valuation, sentiment, and SP direction

Wednesday, Jun 17 2009 by
17

Detailed discussion of Soco's assets should take place on other threads, but this thread is to discuss the latest valuations both by ourselves and analysts, sentiment (ie will the shares go nowhere because there's not much upcoming news) and likely moves in the share price in the next six months.  How should the shares be valued?  How reasonable is it that any drilling without a firm commitment further than several months away is ignored by the market?

I haven't seen many recent analysts' reports on Soco, but I have one from Cazenove with a core NAV of 1370p and no doubt considerable explo NAV on top of that.  I imagine that's approximately concensus, but maybe with crude rising again these concensus NAV figures will start to rise.  Has anyone any other recent broker estimates?

My view, as stated elsewhere, remains that in the absence of much to get the market excited the shares will wander aimlessly for the rest of 2009.  I've previously guessed that if crude were $65 at Christmas 09, then Soco's SP would be somewhere near £13 then, and I'm still very happy with that guess.  What does anyone else think?

Of course unexpected bids and other events may overtake this, but these sort of events may happen to any company, and perhaps Soco (where management seem unlikely to accept bids since they believe there is considerable value not recognised by the market) is one of the less likely companies to be affected by the unexpected.  The key new news for Soco might be (a) a bid (IMO unlikely), (b) some sort of presentation by management of the drilling data they claim to have that demonstrates a significant strike has been made at E, currently ignored by the mkt, or (c) possibly hitting oil off the Congo.

 

Moderation note: posts will only be deleted from this thread by the site admins or by agreement from at least three of sirlurkalot, emptyend, djpreston and doverbeach.  If three of this list agree to delete a post, the names of those three and the reason for deletion will be noted in a post on this thread so everything's completely transparent.


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SOCO International plc is an international oil and gas exploration and production company. The Company has oil and gas interests in Vietnam, which includes Block 9-2 and Block 16-1; Republic of Congo (Brazzaville), which includes Marine XI Block and Marine XIV Block, the Democratic Republic of Congo (Kinshasa), consists of Nganzi block and Block V and Angola, which include Cabinda Onshore North Block. The Company's operations are located in South East Asia and Africa. It holds its interests in the Republic of Congo (Brazzaville), through its 85%-owned subsidiary, SOCO Exploration and Production Congo SA (SOCO EPC). It holds its interests in the Democratic Republic of Congo (Kinshasa) through its 85%-owned subsidiary SOCO Exploration and Production DRC Sprl. The Company’s net entitlement volumes were approximately 15,500 barrels of oil equivalent per day. more »

Share Price (Full)
288.3p
Change
16.0  5.9%
P/E (fwd)
9.1
Yield (fwd)
5.9
Mkt Cap (£m)
903.9



  Is SOCO International fundamentally strong or weak? Find out More »


1316 Posts on this Thread show/hide all

repobear 18th Jun '09 16 of 1316
7

SirL,

You made your point and ee has graciously admitted that you called it right.

Please start another thread about your bad calls and your good calls over the last 18 months. What did you learn from your mistakes? What were your other good calls? How, without naming too many names, are you positioning yourself for the second leg of the downturn? What are your views on UK vs Europe vs US vs Asia (markets, economies and currencies)? Bank debt? Commodities? What are you shorting?

I'm sure that your already high credibility would be enhanced in such a thread, rather than banging on about past glories. Pompey's FA Cup win seems a long time ago after last season, just like my olie gains made 2005-7.

As it happens I think Soco won't show anything other than steady improvement in the share price over the next 9 months or so, and the big deal won't happen too soon. I still think my money here will do fine over a 2-3 year look though.

repobear

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jonnyt 18th Jun '09 17 of 1316
1

Yes TGD could be huge or alternatively it could be Shakesperian *

Like Sir L I personnaly thought a sale just wouldn't happen without at least one hole having the flowing black stuff.

Personally I don't see any point holding Soco until 2010

JonnyT

 

* Much ado about nothing

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emptyend 19th Jun '09 18 of 1316
4

In reply to emptyend (post #1)

Returning to the actual topic of this thread:

Caz.....1370p+ 569p risked = 1939p......

Other brokers?

Morgan Stanley - 22 May: price target of 1575p, base case NAV 1771p, bull case NAV 2162p [nb this seems to exclude all 2010 drilling]

Tristone - 14 May: price target of 1575p, NAV 1585p

Citi - 13 May:  price target 1300p, NAV 1344p [nb.....Citi were presumably in the "departure lounge" for their broker role by this point!]

Merrill: 11 March: price target 1500p, total NAV 2202p (incl 1554p core) [nb this includes only 201p of risked explo - less than half Caz's figure]

RBC  (Al Stanton) has slightly revised his NAV estimates in the sector, putting SOCO at 1922p.

That makes the shares at a 38% discount to his NAV. The premiums and discounts for the larger companies [ie all those that are 50% of SOCO's size or more) he covers are:

Tullow +1%, Venture +1%, Premier -18%,  Addax -13%, Cairn -23%, Heritage +5%.......so does SOCO at -38% stack up??

I'd suggest that gap could close at any time.......

ee

 

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djpreston 19th Jun '09 19 of 1316
9

Without wanting to sound like a "camp follower" I have to agree that Soco right now appears as one of the cheaper and "safest" liquid issues around at present.

It hasnt risen the POO rise like the others that should have increased the core values alone (Tristone is using $50 at the moment).

Yes there is relatively little news in the short term but there is incremental news (African campaign, seismic interpretation etc). I accept that it may not be one fo the best performer in the coming months and that most of the value add will come from the Vn side of the equation next year. Howevver, do I sell and look to come back in? That is the question I have been wrestling with for some time.

The reason I havent sold out is simply that it appears to be at an undeserved discount to NAVs compared to peers. We have a rising M&A trend at present and there will be a lot of cash knocking around that will either have been released form successful deals or looking to enter the "hot" market. On the basis that we see a few mid caps departing the sector then there is a real limit on the number of investible mid caps for the institutions to get involved with. An alaysis of the possible candidates in that sub sector will show SIA as being relatively good value. Thus we could well see some buying from this side, especially if an insto takes a twelve month view (which brings the Vn campaign back into focus).

There has been a lot fo funding going on and money is being recycled into those issues. Cash is often being raised (Id guess) by the instos to subscribe (or to play the M&A stories evolving) without raising their sector weightings and on that basis, Soco is seen as a low news flow story in the short term and is therefore perhaps seen as a "natural" source fo funds. That could well explain the underperformance.

Its a bit of a sod really. Soco looks one of the best medium term plays in the sector but short term its likely to be dull. Ive decided to accept that. Besides, I am finding it increasingly hard to come up with other ideas that appeal at the moment so why not leave it with a company where I like the finances, the management, the assets and the discount ot NAV? Would I buy now for "new" cases? Sure. Would I add for existing holders? Not really as they have a high enough exposure already. If it dipped much lower I probably would.

Anyway, back to trying to find some new ideas.

Fund Management: European Wealth
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emptyend 19th Jun '09 20 of 1316
3

In reply to djpreston (post #19)

Without wanting to sound like a "camp follower"

....just had this wonderful image of someone who looks as imposing as Desperate Dan mincing along......  ;-)

Soco right now appears as one of the cheaper and "safest" liquid issues around at present......do I sell and look to come back in? That is the question I have been wrestling with for some time.

One of the issues is, of course, that it isn't very often particularly liquid. Apart from the high volume day earlier this week, volumes have been tiny for ages. IMO that will make it very tough for institutions to rebuild positions, especially if they wait until "something is happening".

The reason I havent sold out is simply that it appears to be at an undeserved discount to NAVs compared to peers. We have a rising M&A trend at present and there will be a lot of cash knocking around that will either have been released form successful deals ...... An alaysis of the possible candidates in that sub sector will show SIA as being relatively good value...... Cash is often being raised (Id guess) by the instos to subscribe (or to play the M&A stories evolving) without raising their sector weightings and on that basis, Soco is seen as a low news flow story in the short term and is therefore perhaps seen as a "natural" source fo funds. That could well explain the underperformance.

Its a bit of a sod really. Soco looks one of the best medium term plays in the sector but short term its likely to be dull. Ive decided to accept that.

I am in 100% agreement with everything Darron says there! The issue for me has always been "why should I sell something that I KNOW is cheap" in order to buy something else that I only "think" might be cheap.  I have a very high level of certainty and confidence that SOCO will, when VN gets sold, be worth very substantially more than it is today. Why would I want to give away that upside in exchange for something that I'm (much) less certain about? Why would I want to try to be cute in market-timing exits and entries when that merely leaves me at the whim of unknown third parties' actions and timings? I might get lucky of course......but giving up a high level of certainty (IMO) of a high return in order to have a punt on even higher returns just doesn't appeal! I'm not a trader by nature.

ee

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ArtNouveau 19th Jun '09 21 of 1316

Wouldn't the seismic reprocessing (results due in September) significantly derisk the HPHT and therefore pre-empt a bid before further drilling next year?

 

ArtN

(bought more yesterday at £11.87 for the 'long-term')

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rhomboid 19th Jun '09 22 of 1316
2

Cash is often being raised (Id guess) by the instos to subscribe (or to play the M&A stories evolving) without raising their sector weightings and on that basis, Soco is seen as a low news flow story in the short term and is therefore perhaps seen as a "natural" source fo funds. That could well explain the underperformance.

 

Totally concur , Soco seems to be a 'sleeper' at the mo. and as such a 'switch to what's hot' theme has depressed the price to the point where I'm tempted to 'bet the farm' as I last did when the price was c. £1..just look at the paucity of ADVFN posts and the tacit acceptance that it is a 'cheap' rating but dead money short term.

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emptyend 19th Jun '09 23 of 1316
3

In reply to ArtNouveau (post #21)

Wouldn't the seismic reprocessing (results due in September) significantly derisk the HPHT and therefore pre-empt a bid before further drilling next year?

I don't think anyone would claim that seismic on its own would derisk the HPHT area - but quite a bit may well depend on exactly how management express their confidence in the final interpretation (given that they do also have well logs that will have been integrated with the seismic.). I don't think they would claim that the HPHT will be "derisked" until the next well produces flowing hydrocarbons that tie in with the reprocessed seismic...but, OTOH, the level of confidence expressed in the new interpretation will rightly be closely watched - and IMO the commentary that accompanies the interim results is likely to trigger a significant move (given the scale of the mooted upside - and the possibility that potential bidders might start to build stakes, if nothing more)

ee

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repobear 20th Jun '09 24 of 1316
2

Hi ee,

All fair points and in a better 'financial' world it would happen something like you describe above. My doubts are centred around the line of thought that if the market didn't see the positives in the TGD drilling, it is unlikely that the seismic will do much. However I do agree with Darron that rising oil prices and more M&A activity means that there will be more money chasing fewer seats at the oilie table. Soco is relatively undervalued and should, on that basis, see more of that cash and a bit of a pick up in its share price. The danger is that Soco gets overlooked because, until the Vietnam campaign comes more into focus, it will be seen as dull.

People here who having been reading posts by yourself and Davjo and others understand the potential far better than the market. Until you start writing a weekly energy brief in one of the heavyweight papers I just don't see the market getting this too well. Significant results in Africa or Vietnam will change that a bit, but the next , and I would hope  large, lump of value will only be outed when Vietnam gets sold.

One of the best safe liquid plays on the FTSE over a 2 year look but there other places which offer far better potential over the next 3-6 months for the less risk averse . Where is WShak by the way? ;-)

repobear

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emptyend 20th Jun '09 25 of 1316

In reply to repobear (post #24)

My doubts are centred around the line of thought that if the market didn't see the positives in the TGD drilling, it is unlikely that the seismic will do much.

Well that is obviously a possibility. At one level one could argue that the company could wheeel out as much analysis and as many experts as they like - but nobody would believe a thing until they drilled a well and oil flowed. OTOH there is simply the matter of upside scale - the potential for £10-15 per share (say) to be added to the value of the company by mid-2010 is, I'd suggest, too substantial to be ignored - especially in an environment where.....

 rising oil prices and more M&A activity means that there will be more money chasing fewer seats at the oilie table. Soco is relatively undervalued and should, on that basis, see more of that cash and a bit of a pick up in its share price.

 

Re....

People here who having been reading posts by yourself and Davjo and others understand the potential far better than the market. Until you start writing a weekly energy brief in one of the heavyweight papers I just don't see the market getting this too well. Significant results in Africa or Vietnam will change that a bit, but the next , and I would hope  large, lump of value will only be outed when Vietnam gets sold.

There might be some truth in that. However, you could have said much the same in the 1999-2002 period, when there were no heavyweight analysts looking at all - and it didn't stop the shres rising! I am completely relaxed about whether the market bothers to recognise the value early or not - I won't be selling any at all until VN value is outed. And, frankly, whether other people have picked up on the story by then and (re)invested, isn't something I am concerned about in the slightest!! If people feel the grass is greener elsewhere then they should follow Rui De Sousa's advice and sell the shares immediately!! Those who have a better handle on valuations will, I'm sure, be pleased to pick them up (and I might even buy more myself).

One of the best safe liquid plays on the FTSE over a 2 year look but there other places which offer far better potential over the next 3-6 months for the less risk averse . Where is WShak by the way? ;-)

In Dragon, Indago, Ascent and GM bonds I imagine...... not sure that any of those meet your description mind ;-)

ee

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marben100 20th Jun '09 26 of 1316

In reply to emptyend (post #23)

AIUI the seismic reprocessing, taking account of the well logs from TGD-1X, helps to build a better geological model. This, in turn, allows Soco to pinpoint their drilling targets and, once the drilling has taken place and if it's successful, make a decent estimate of the reservoir size.

I guess that one could argue that this improves te CoS for the next well - but I'm with Tom Cross on this one: CoS is rather ephemeral, what counts is the actual result of drilling.

I stand ready to be shot down if my understanding of the implications and purpose of the seismic reprocessing is incorrect!

Cheers,

Mark

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SW10Chap 20th Jun '09 27 of 1316

In reply to marben100 (post #26)

AIUI the seismic reprocessing, taking account of the well logs from TGD-1X, helps to build a better geological model. This, in turn, allows Soco to pinpoint their drilling targets and, once the drilling has taken place and if it's successful, make a decent estimate of the reservoir size.

There's a saying (and I think it has Army origins): "the map is not the terrain."

Seismic is a remote sensing technology which then relies on processing, interpretation and opinion to provide a model of what may lie beneath. But it's not factual. Consider the recent events at SQZ where, although Serica announced an oil find in their recent RNS, they were targetting gas!

How can this happen? I postulated some thoughts

I'd say the bottom line is that the reprocessing should result in an improved model - but I wouldn't expect it to considered 100% reliable. It will need continual refinement as further data emerges from under the ground. I'm biased though, I always prefer proper data from dirty rocks under the ground rather than poncey reflections from on high ;-)

SW10

Edit - [irritated, as much of this post went missing when I submitted it and I almost can't be orsed to recreate it all...]

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emptyend 20th Jun '09 28 of 1316
4

I'd say the bottom line is that the reprocessing should result in an improved model - but I wouldn't expect it to considered 100% reliable. It will need continual refinement as further data emerges from under the ground.

Yup - quite sure it won't be 100% reliable. But the point is that they already have well data from TGD-1X, TGV-1X, TGH-1X and TGB-1X....all of which were into the rocks overlying TGD (E) and E South. In particular, do not overlook the contribution of data from TGV-1X......whilst TGD-1X is clearly the most useful and relevant from the perspective of the depth of the logs, do not ignore the fact that both TGT-4X and TGV-1X* ....

http://www.investegate.co.uk/Article.aspx?id=200605300701087194D 

The well also penetrated the source rock section at the top of the Oligocene
validating the geological interpretation and confirming the potential of the
deep Oligocene and Basement prospect underlying the shallower closures.

....had flows of around 600bopd from the Oligocene - and therefore presumably have useful data to control interpretations of the oligocene (fan) elsewhere. The fact that this reprocessing work should integrate everything they know from all the wells drilled on TGT and the HPHT area (for the first time, I believe), should make it a relatively powerful piece of analysis (hence the high cost and long time taken over it!).

*nb the complete results from that well weren't trumpetted at the time, probably because it might have prejudiced negotiations over the appraisal area etc. Anyone minded to verify those comments can make their own investigations.

I remain firmly of the view that they will be able to be very assertive when presenting the results of the reprocessing in a few months time.

ee

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Isaac 20th Jun '09 29 of 1316

What about the basement of TGT?

Very annoying that TGD well will be competing with the development wells in TGT for rig time.

Why does'nt the JV hire out another rig? I don't think one well will be enough on TGD to realise the full value. I suspect the management won't be selling after the first well either as an industry buyer would'nt be prepared to pay up for what management believe is alot of Oil in the whole prospect.

You can't prove up all the Oil from one well.

Given the extra wells that need to be drilled and limited rig time does that not mean we are looking at 2-3 years before Vietnam potential is realised? I.e. Soco Vietnam won't be sold until 2012-2013 ?

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djpreston 20th Jun '09 30 of 1316
3
Actually the realisation of the "hidden" value of Vn isn't actually bothering me that much. Its becoming increasingly clear to me that there is a lot more to shoot at in Vn and Africa of course. Given that I'm finding it increasingly difficult to find stories that I really like as being considerably undervalued, I'd actually be hard pressed to find a better home for any money than Soco. So, with TGT development on stream in 2011 (with all the cashflow that represents) and the Africa campaign well into its stride by then, coupled with potentially huge upside in Vn I'm pretty relaxed if it does take till 2012. Oil prices should also be much higher by then with inflation possible or at least from a much stronger economic backdrop so asset prices should be higher still. Mind you, I would prefer to see soco currebtly less undervalued than it is at present, say £16?? Just thinking outloud. Memo to self, when doing hard work in the heat, stay off the Bud!
Fund Management: European Wealth
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doverbeach 20th Jun '09 31 of 1316
1

OT - In reply to SW10Chap (post #27)

The normal version is "The map is not the territory" -  cf Borges  "On exactitude in Science" quoted on http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Map-territory_relation

The inventions of philosophy are no less fantastic than those of art: Josiah Royce, in the first volume of his work The World and the Individual (1899), has formulated the following: 'Let us imagine that a portion of the soil of England has been levelled off perfectly and that on it a cartographer traces a map of England. The job is perfect; there is no detail of the soil of England, no matter how minute, that is not registered on the map; everything has there its correspondence. This map, in such a case, should contain a map of the map, which should contain a map of the map of the map, and so on to infinity.' Why does it disturb us that the map be included in the map and the thousand and one nights in the book of the Thousand and One Nights? Why does it disturb us that Don Quixote be a reader of the Quixote and Hamlet a spectator of Hamlet? I believe I have found the reason: these inversions suggest that if the characters of a fictional work can be readers or spectators, we, its readers or spectators, can be fictions.

Of course Borges is here quoting a fictional philospher :)

db

 

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marben100 20th Jun '09 32 of 1316
3

In reply to Isaac (post #29)

Two TGD wells are planned. Part of the reason for interleaving with TGT drilling is that before the second TGD well is drilled, time may be needed to analyse the result of the first, which will provide input to the drilling plan for the second. By contracting one rig for 18 months (rather than two for a shorter period), Soco will have plenty of flexibility in the drilling schedule, whilst keeping costs under control. Ed explained that the actual drilling schedule will depend on a variety of unpredictable factors including weather.

Regards,

Mark

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djpreston 6th Jul '09 33 of 1316
13

Tristone have revised their targets for the companies in their universe today in a weighty 127 page tome. This reflects a move to a flat price deck of $70 as opposed to $50.

Soco is maintained as Outperform but the target is rasied by 30p to 1605p.

The main note is the increase in RENAV to 2007p (up 26%).

They no longer include the strat fan in their target price as they feel the market is unwilling to assign value until we see more positive results. They do however include the zone above the volcanics.

Mention of West Africa:

S1 (73mmbbl gross) at 45p/shr risked (193p unrisked).

Viodo as follow on well (45mm bbl gross) at 64p risked 112p unrisked

 

Edit - for the record, the unrisked NAV is 6065p

Fund Management: European Wealth
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marben100 6th Jul '09 34 of 1316

Per my earlier post, just picked up my 1st "trading tranche" of Soco @ 1097p to add to my core holding. :0)

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Isaac 11th Jul '09 35 of 1316
10

Hi ee,

I am responding to your last post on  : http://www.stockopedia.com/forum/view/28067/ma

Just for the record, SOCO (the bid candidate that eveyone seems to have forgotten about for now!) has JP Morgan and Merrill....which is a combination that I'd think is just about perfect for the job they'll have in hand in due course.

 

Please expand on this statement.

No. "In due course" is perfectly self-explanatory!

 

I am interested to know more about this. I am asking because I know you are very close to the management and perhaps have got a hint of something from them? I know we are drilling in West Africa next month and in September we will hear more about TGD from the Seismic reinterpretation.

Given that Vietnam is the prospect the asset is closest to being unlocked, It is obvious that is the asset you are referring to. You said Merril and JP are perfect for the job, what job? Selling Vietnam in due course? Meaning sometime in the near future?

I would'nt have thought Vietnam would be sold until late 2010 after poking another hole, in due course means sometime soon. Why do you think Vietnam is likely to be sold soon? I am interested in your thought process, please expand.

De Sousa advises the Maugein estate and Pontoil have a very clear idea of the company's value and are not cash-strapped.

 

Rui De Sousa, Sold £6mil worth of shares in March 2006 @ £10, 3 or so months later the share price rose 60%. Just over a a year later Soco shares were worth £24 i.e. a 140% rise compared to where he sold.

http://www.investegate.co.uk/Article.aspx?id=200603271317114452A

Did'nt Rui buy shares at £15.44  in May 2006? So he needs about a 40% rise to breakeven from current levels, how well is his knowledge as to what Soco is actually worth? He is a non-exec chairman, non-exec means he is not involved in the daily operations. He has interests elsewhere : 

Currently, a director of Quantic Limited, a director of New Falcon Oil Limited, a director of Gazprombank-Invest (Lebanon) SAL and Chairman of Carbon Resource Management Ltd.

http://www.socointernational.co.uk/?id=board_directors

Based on these dealings, for me personally it does'nt inspire much confidence. Nor does it give me confidence to say he will get us the best/right price for Soco. Perhaps I am wrong, why is he the best man to negotiate a good price for Soco?  What impact would it have if the Maugein family lost confidence in De Sousa and decided to sell up?

George Hepler, the top exploration man at Soco, why did he excercise and sell his shares at £12.63 back in May2009? Surely he knows better then everyone what is down there in TGD and Africa? I would'nt have expected him to sell the shares at such a low price especially when the management and supposingly PontOil and a whole bunch of shareholders who think Soco is worth alot more.

I personally want north of £30 for Vietnam once TGD value is unlocked, But it is one thing wanting and another thing actually getting.

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