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UPDATE 1-Niko forecasts robust cashflow growth; shares jump

Source : REUTERS
Last Updated: Fri, Mar 08, 2013 17:10 hrs

* Expects FY15 funds from operations to double from $88 mln in FY14

* Says received offers for certain of non-core assets

* Shares jump as much as 23 pct (Adds details on fiscal 2014 forecast; updates share movement)

March 8 (Reuters) - Oil and natural gas producer Niko Resources Ltd said it expects funds from operations for the fiscal year ending March 2015 to nearly double from the preceding year due to an anticipated increase in the price of gas in India.

Shares of Niko rose as much as 23 percent to C$7.39 on the Toronto Stock Exchange on Friday. The stock had fallen by a third since the company reported its seventh quarterly loss in February.

The Canadian company also said it has received significant offers for certain of its non-core assets, a move that should help fund spending aimed at raising output from its key gas field in India.

Calgary, Alberta-based Niko said it was evaluating the offers, but did not name the assets or the interested parties.

Chief Financial Officer Glen Valk declined to comment.

Niko said last month that the price for gas it sells in India could double to between $8.00 and $8.50 per million British thermal units based on a pricing formula recommended by an Indian government panel.

Based on the projected benefit of the pricing, funds from operations - an indication of cashflow - for the fiscal year 2015 is expected to double from the $88 million anticipated for the next fiscal year, Niko said.

Niko estimated last month that it would spend $35 million to $45 million on the D6 Block off India's east coast for the fiscal year ending March 31, 2014.

Capital spending on the block, in which Niko has a 10 percent stake, is expected to be less than $10 million in the current fiscal year, a Niko spokeswoman told Reuters last month.

India's Reliance Industries Ltd, holder of a 60 percent stake in the block, and the UK's BP Plc, which owns 30 percent of it, said last month that they plan to invest more than $5 billion over the next three to five years to boost declining output in the block.

Niko, however, plans a minimum capital expenditure of about $130 million for fiscal 2014, much less than the expected spending of more than $200 million this fiscal year.

The company also has operations in Bangladesh, Indonesia, Trinidad, Madagascar and Pakistan. It has had to abandon many wells in Indonesia and Trinidad.

The company on Friday cut its sales volumes forecast for the current quarter by 3 percent to about 126 million cubic feet equivalent per day (mmcfe/d), citing some work at a reservoir in the D6 Block.

Sales volumes in India would be lower in the early part of fiscal year ending March 2014 too, the company said.

It forecast volumes of 122 mmcfe/d for fiscal 2014 and 133 mmcfe/d for 2015.

Niko also cut its forecast for funds from operations for the January-March quarter by 12 percent to about $22 million. (Reporting by Bhaswati Mukhopadhyay and Sandhya Vijayan; Editing by Sriraj Kalluvila and Roshni Menon)




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