Maurel Falls Most Since 2011 After Ruling Out Dividend

Etablissements Maurel & Prom SA, a French oil and gas explorer, dropped the most in more than two years in Paris trading after ruling out a dividend and saying it’s yet to find a buyer.

Maurel fell 6.4 percent to 11.155 euros, the biggest decline since December 2011. Trading volumes were more than four times the three-month daily average.

“The company does not plan to pay a dividend,” Paris-based Maurel said today in a statement even as it reported a 54 percent jump in 2013 profit.

The payout was scrapped due to the treatment under French accounting rules of a “lag” between operations at its units such as in Gabon and the parent company, Chief Executive Officer Jean-Francois Henin said in a telephone interview.

Maurel has announced plans to raise output in Gabon and move into exploration and unconventional energy projects in Canada, Myanmar and Iraq to increase reserves. The explorer has struggled to raise production and make new discoveries since selling Congolese fields to Eni SpA in 2007, and has sought a partner or buyer to help it expand.

“Contacts have been made, contacts are made and will be made,” Henin said earlier today on a conference call. “Until the time when an event could happen, we will continue to live and make decisions as if Maurel & Prom is here for eternity.”

Gabon Reserves

Net income rose to 63 million euros ($87 million) in 2013 from a restated 41 million euros a year earlier, according to the statement. Maurel also reported a decline in reserves in Gabon, which it attributed to new contract terms.

Oil sales from the West African country, which account for almost all the company’s revenue, rose 26 percent to an average 19,580 barrels a day in 2013. Maurel expects total Gabonese output, which reached 29,000 barrels of oil equivalent a day at the end of 2013, to rise to 35,000 barrels a day in the second half, a level it will maintain for about 10 years, it said.

The company also operates in East Africa, where it’s in talks with Tanzania for a gas-supply contract. In neighboring Mozambique it will examine prospects that are “potentially extremely significant” and drill two exploration wells in the Rovuma permit, where Anadarko Petroleum Corp. is the operator.

Maurel, which is 24 percent-held by Henin, has announced the acquisition of stakes in ventures off Myanmar, the Alberta oil sands in Canada and a deal to explore and develop unconventional reserves in the Gaspe region of Quebec.

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