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Acting on Growth, Penn Virginia Exploring Merger, Sale

Eagle Ford Shale pure-play Penn Virginia Corp. (PVAC) is planning to capitalize on the strength gained since emerging from bankruptcy two years ago by reviewing “a range of strategic alternatives” to enhance shareholder value.

The 136 year-old company founded in Philadelphia and now headquartered in Houston has transformed itself in recent years, dumping assets to focus on the Eagle Ford. It has about 83,800 net acres in the South Texas counties of Gonzales, Lavaca and Dewitt.

“Given the company’s recent operational and financial successes, we believe now is an opportune time to evaluate a range of strategic alternatives,” said CEO John A. Brooks. The company said its board would explore all available options, including a corporate sale, merger, strategic acquisitions or other transactions.

In the wake of the 2014 commodities downturn, when it voluntarily filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, PVAC has gained momentum. It produced 16,145 boe/d in 1Q2018, up 28% from 4Q2017, with oil production increasing by 33%. Total first quarter production also increased from 9,495 boe/d in the year-ago period.

The announcement also comes at a time when the company is targeting 125% year/year growth, forecasting 22,000-25,000 boe/d of production for 2018.

The company’s profits also are improving. It reported net profit of $10.3 million in 1Q2018, compared with year-ago income of $28.4 million.

PVAC cautioned in its announcement Monday that it can’t guarantee the evaluation process will result in a transaction. The company has also been pushed by investors in the recent past to explore alternatives without success.

There is no timeline for the latest review, and the company said it would share no further details. On Tuesday afternoon PVAC’s stock price on Nasdaq was up more than 4% at around $88.50/share.  

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