Vancouver, British Columbia, March 6th, 2019. Newport Exploration Ltd (“Newport” or “the Company”) is pleased to report that it has received its after tax 2.5% Gross Overriding Royalty (“GOR”) payment from Beach Energy Ltd. (“Beach”) for the three-month period November 2018 to January 2019.
Gross royalty income for the period was AUD$2,048,362. The payment received by Newport of AUD$1,433,853 is net of 30% Australian withholding taxes (AUD$614,509) in accordance with the Australian Tax Office. Additionally, the Company has received $157,066 from the exercise of 1,121,900 share purchase warrants and now has 104,185,774 common shares issued and outstanding and approximately CDN$7 million in the Treasury.
The Company has been able to return special dividends to its shareholders of between 15% and 25% for the previous four years and most shareholders now regard the Company as a ‘dividend stock’ with an expectation of an annual dividend. With the increasing diversity of production from the various GOR permits, and dependent upon their maturity profile, the Company may consider making quarterly dividends.
Newport has GOR interests in several oil and gas assets in Australia other than ex PEL 91, ex PEL 106 and the Udacha Block that are currently producing. The Company has held these interests since 1998 and, as it believed in the potential for oil discoveries for over 15 years before the recent success, Management believes that the gas potential of the permits may also be realized (Company News Release dated February 14, 2019). Industry research reports such as those issued by JP Morgan and RBC, along with recent disclosure by Beach on gas production from the GOR permits, further vindicates Managements’ long held belief in their gas potential. The potential for gas is being explored by Beach and Santos Ltd (“Santos”), Australia’s largest gas producer, and JP Morgan is positive on both Beach and Santos. (Reference: JP Morgan’s Asia Pacific Equity Research report dated 21 January 2018 entitled “Australian Energy and Utilities”). With the aggressive drilling program planned by Beach for both oil and gas on the permits (News Release dated February 14, 2019), the Company has built-in exposure to significant potential growth both in the oil and the gas sectors in Australia. Most importantly, this growth potential comes at zero risk to shareholders as there is no time limit or expiry date on the GOR assets and there is no cost to retain them.
Much as it maintained its interest in the GOR assets despite over a decade of no exploration or development prior to the conversion into the GOR, Management has maintained its 100% interest in the Chu Chua copper-gold deposit in Central British Columbia, Canada, and believes that it will also pay off for the Company and its shareholders. This could be as a result of entering into a joint venture to develop it, by way of an outright sale, or by creating a subsidiary public company and vending the project into it for cash or shares. The Company anticipates conducting technical work on Chu Chua during 2019 in order to determine an up-to-date valuation for the asset. This work will not affect the Company’s ability to make shareholder dividends.
The Company reports that it is aware of rumors of a possible bid for the GOR and/or a possible hostile takeover attempt of the Company as a way of acquiring the GOR. No offer for the GOR would be considered until the Company has had an independent valuation done on the GOR assets, and any such offer would be subject to a fairness opinion and shareholder approval. In the event of any hostile takeover attempt, the Company is confident that the majority of shareholders would support the Board in order to safeguard the Company’s treasury, its future cash flows, shareholder dividends and assets.
In summary, the Company proposes to retain its several GOR oil and gas assets and the Chu Chua copper-gold asset and believes that stability, profitability, and paying regular shareholder dividends has been a responsible corporate strategy. This has enabled shareholders of Newport to avoid severely reduced or cancelled dividends, forced asset sales, share consolidations and a catastrophic decline in share prices that have occurred with several other Canadian energy companies, as highlighted in the “Energy Summary for January 23, 2019”, in Stockwatch.
The Company continues to strongly encourage shareholders and potential investors to access information released independently by Beach and Santos Ltd to keep current during exploration, development and potential production of all the licenses subject to the Company’s gross overriding royalty.
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Cautionary Statement on Forward-Looking Information
This news release is intended to provide readers with a reasonable basis for assessing the future performance of the Company. The words “believe”, “should”, “could”, “expect”, “anticipate”, “contemplate”, “target”, “plan”, “intends”, “continue”, “budget”, “estimate”, “may”, “will”, “schedule” and similar expressions identify forward-looking statements. Forward looking statements are statements and information regarding possible developments that are based on assumptions about future economic conditions and courses of action. Forward looking statements in this release include, but are not limited to, statements regarding future dividends, the gas potential of the permits, and the future development or disposition of the Chu Chua mineral property. Forward-looking statements are based upon a number of estimates and assumptions that, while considered reasonable by the Company, are inherently subject to business, economic and competitive uncertainties and contingencies. Factors include, but are not limited to, the risk of fluctuations in the assumed prices of oil, the risk of changes in government legislation including the risk of obtaining necessary licences and permits, taxation, controls, regulations and political or economic developments in Canada, Australia or other countries in which the Company carries or may carry on business in the future, risks associated with developmental activities, the speculative nature of exploration and development, and assumed quantities or grades of reserves. Readers are cautioned that forward-looking statements are not guarantees of future performance. There can be no assurance that such statements will prove to be accurate and actual results and future events could differ materially from those acknowledged in such statements.
The Company disclaims any intention or obligation to update or revise any forward-looking statements whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise, except to the extent required by applicable laws.
(c) 2019 Newport Exploration Ltd.