Bank backs Austria's OMV with 'Buy' rating on strategy milestones

28 August 2013 14:37  [Source: ICIS news]

LONDON (ICIS)--Erste Group Bank has issued a 'Buy' rating on the stock of Austrian oil, gas and petrochemicals group OMV after appraising recent milestones in delivering its reformulated strategy, the bank said on Wednesday.

OMV's 10-year strategy through to 2021 aims to increase the group's strategic focus on exploration and production (E&P) – this objective was underlined by OMV's 20 August announcement that it had agreed to pay $2.65bn (€1.99bn) to acquire several North Sea upstream oil and gas assets from Norway's Statoil.

OMV’s strategy also aims to adjust the product yield of the group's refineries towards market demand for middle distillates and petrochemical feedstock.

However, Tamas Pletser, an analyst at Erste, said that it was currently Romania that was “the major upside for the company”, thanks to gas exploration in the Black Sea that may have located OMV's biggest ever gas find.

“The key risk is the new hydrocarbon taxation, but we believe the Black Sea discovery offers an ace in the hand of the company in the poker game against the [Romanian] government,” he added.

On 21 August, OMV said it was in negotiations with potential buyers of its 45% stake in the Bayernoil refining network.

OMV has opted to pursue the divestment of the German concern because it does not have an integrated petrochemical operation.

Erste estimated that OMV's 2013 net sales revenues would amount to €44.1bn compared to last year's €42.3bn.

($1 = €0.75)

By: Will Conroy
+44 20 8652 3214

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