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BOSTON (Reuters) - Natural gas and oil firm Gulfport Energy Corp said it would buy back $400 million of shares on Thursday, just hours after a public demand to that effect from hedge fund investor Firefly Value Partners. After the close of trading, Oklahoma City-based Gulfport announced plans to buy back $400 million worth of shares in the next two years and said it bought $90 million worth of shares in the last weeks of 2018. “I want to underscore our commitment to further enhancing shareholder value with a newly authorized $400 million stock repurchase program to be executed within the next 24 months,” David Wood, who was named chief executive officer late last year, said in a statement.
On Thursday morning, New York-based hedge fund Firefly had said it wanted Gulfport, which has a market capitalization of $1.5 billion, to buy back $500 million of shares, Firefly, which owns 8.1 percent of Gulfport, said montblanc cufflinks in a public letter that such a large share buyback could translate to a doubling of Gulfport’s share price, It criticized how Gulfport had allocated capital and complained that current board members might not be committed to pushing for improvements, In its statement announcing the share buyback, Gulfport did not refer to Firefly or address its complaints..
But by the afternoon, when the eight member Gulfport board ended its meeting, management and the directors laid out a plan that some analysts said could neutralize the hedge fund’s requests. Firefly declined to comment on the Gulfport statement. Gulfport also forecast free cash flow of more than $100 million this year and said this year’s capital expenditures would be between $565 million and $600 million and be paid with cash flow. Last year, Gulfport had authorized $200 million worth of buybacks.
In its critique of the company and its board, Firefly said directors do “not seem up to the task of fixing the company’s capital allocation strategy and regaining investors’ trust.” It added that it may be time to add a shareholder to the board who could energize the group to push for these changes, “We propose an action plan that we believe montblanc cufflinks allows Gulfport to create at least $9 per share of value for stockholders (over 100 percent of the current market capitalization) over the next 12 months,” Firefly’s letter said, Rising commodity prices would make the impact of the share buybacks even bigger..
The company’s shares, which closed at $8.82 on Thursday, have tumbled 32 percent in the last year. This is the time of year investors who are pushing for change traditionally write public letters to companies that detail their complaints. Later they may run a proxy contest to seat newcomers on the board. Firefly has been invested in Gulfport since 2013 and there have been private discussions, the hedge fund acknowledged. There was turmoil at the company late last year. In December it appointed Wood as CEO to replace Michael Moore, who resigned after accusations that he had misused the company’s chartered aircraft and a company credit card.
PARIS (Reuters) - Hitachi’s decision to freeze its $28 billion nuclear power project in Britain strengthens the hand of France’s EDF and its Chinese partner in talks with the government on how to finance new reactors, Funding new nuclear plants has become critical as Hitachi became the second Japanese firm to say its British nuclear power project had hit the buffers over financing, The two projects would have covered about 13 percent of Britain’s power needs, EDF and its montblanc cufflinks partner China General Nuclear Power Corporation (CGN) want to use a financing model under which investors in their nuclear projects receive payment from the moment they start construction, reducing their risk..
But to proceed with this approach, the government must first win over lawmakers and consumers, already frustrated by hefty energy bills and costly nuclear projects that often face delays. “The question is whether it is sellable to parliament that all the risks go to the public. But if that is not the case, they will get no investors,” said Stephen Thomas, emeritus professor of energy policy at Greenwich University. EDF is negotiating with the government on funding the Sizewell C project using the so-called regulated asset base model in which investors earn a government-set fixed return from the start, instead of waiting years until construction is completed before receiving a return.
China General Nuclear Power Corporation (CGN) has a 20 percent stake in Sizewell C, while EDF has a 33.5 percent stake in CGN’s project to build a reactor at Bradwell, Essex, “If new nuclear is to be successful in a more competitive energy market – which I very much believe it can be – we need to consider a new approach to financing future projects,” Energy Secretary Greg Clark told parliament, saying this included Sizewell and Bradwell, He addressed lawmakers after Hitachi said it had failed to find private equity investors, even though the government montblanc cufflinks had considered partly funding it with taxpayer’s money..