September 6, 2018 / 3:22 PM / 20 days ago

Neptune Energy reports $70 million first-half profit in first public results

LONDON (Reuters) - Private equity-backed oil and gas producer Neptune Energy on Thursday reported a profit of $70 million (54.2 million pounds) and a cash pile of over $500 million in the first quarterly results it has published, adding that it was on the lookout for more assets.

Several private equity-backed players have entered the British oil and gas sector since the downturn of 2014 and investors are expecting some will eventually move towards an initial public offering (IPO) on the stock exchange.

Neptune, which is backed by the Carlyle Group (CG.O) and CVC Capital partners and headed by former Centrica (CNA.L) boss Sam Laidlaw, said production averaged 166,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day in the first half of 2018.

The company’s cash flow from operations and after tax reached $506.6 million, excluding acquisition-related costs, in the period.

It had $973.6 million in net debt at the end of June and is sitting on untapped debt facilities of $1.58 billion.

In June, Neptune agreed to buy the Norwegian and Danish offshore oil and gas assets of German gas utility VNG. The transaction follows a deal by Neptune last year to buy the oil and gas unit of France’s Engie (ENGIE.PA) for $3.9 billion.

“We have identified additional opportunities within our acquired portfolio,” Neptune said in a statement.

“A combination of strong production performance and financial results leaves us well-placed to continue building the business and to take advantage of ongoing re-positioning within the (exploration and production) sector.”

Reporting By Shadia Nasralla and Ron Bousso; Editing by Kirsten Donovan

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