the investment column
Edited byAndrew Dewson
Our view: Buy
Current price: 1015p (-173p)
Sadly, for investors at least, Eni has decided against upping its 1,200p-per-share offer for Burren Energy, but at least both sides had the decency to call it quits rather than burden invest-ors with a protracted and bitter battle, as seems to be the norm nowadays.
Investors are left wondering what they should do. If Eni were not keen on upping their revised offer, perhaps they found something they didn't like. The truth is probably more mundane: Burren's board wanted more than Eni was prepared to pay, so the Italians walked.
That does not mean that Burren is off the bidding table, and Korea National Oil Corporation is thought to have expressed interest. Some analysts believe that Burren could go for as much as 1,400p per share.
For a mid-cap oil stock, Burren's assets are fairly straightforward - all are producing, and Burren's future as an independent operator in west Africa and Turkmenistan looks promising even without a bid. The M'Boudi field in Congo remains a high- quality asset, the largest onshore field in Africa, in which Eni retains its 43.1 per cent stake. Turkmenistan would provide any bidder with an entry point into excellent oil and gas assets in a stabilising political environment.
Although the shares remain at a significant premium to their 800p level prior to revealing the Eni approach, the stock is still not exactly expensive, trading on 10.9 times forecast 2008 earnings. The days of cheap oil appear to be over, in the short term at least, and Burren has significant reserves of 230 million barrels of oil equivalent, and no shortage of development potential.
The stock collapsed yesterday on the back of the failed talks, but for long-term investors this could provide an attractive entry point into a company with solid long-term prospects. Buy.
Our view: Buy
Current price: 245p (-67.25p)
There is no such thing as a safe bet in the tech sector. Detica, one of the darlings of the Techmark index, is the latest to fall foul of nervous investors after its mixed outlook knocked a staggering 25 per cent off its share price.
That came despite very strong first-half results that beat expectations, and last week's news that it had won a chunk of the massive"e-Borders" contract from the Home Office to provide border control and security systems, a deal that not only adds around 50m in revenue over the next five years, but …