The ongoing exodus of companies from the Irish stock market is continuing, with Tullow Oil signalling on Monday that more than three decades of trading of its stock in Dublin will come to an end in the middle of next month.
Yet while the other main exits in the past two years – including recruitment firm CPL Resources, Applegreen, Yew Grove Reit and, most recently, Hibernia Reit – have been down to companies being acquired, Tullow’s departure comes just as the business is becoming more investible for stock market investors, after years of uncertainty over its future.
Having spent the past few years going through major restructuring, Tullow Oil is on the cusp of merging with fellow London-listed Capricorn Energy. The main attraction for Tullow is Capricorn’s cash pile of more than $700 million (€691 million), which would accelerate its own debt reduction, after seeing its net borrowings fall to $2.1 billion from $3 billion just over two years ago.
Meanwhile, although global oil prices have been trending lower over the past three months amid concerns about the global economy, Brent crude oil, trading at about $93.50 a barrel, remains almost 20 per cent up so far this year.
Tullow’s departure from Euronext Dublin, however, has been a long time coming. The exit of Tullow’s founder Aidan Heavey four years ago and closure of the Dublin office in 2020 have followed a steady decline in trading in the stock here ever since Tullow moved its main stock market listing and domicile to London two decades ago.
Now the only Irish thing that’s essentially left of the Africa-focused explorer is its name, taken from the Co Carlow town where it was founded in 1985.
But even that’s on track to be ditched as soon as the Capricorn deal is cemented.