Pageant Holdings snaps up shares in Providence following slump

Nick Furlong increases Pageant’s stake in Tony O’Reilly-led oil and gas explorer to 9.7%

Businessman Nick Furlong's investment company Pageant Holdings, which took part in a rescue fundraising at Providence Resources last year, has moved to snap up shares in the oil and gas explorer as they slumped on Monday after its latest drilling activity hit water-bearing sands.

Providence Resources, led by Tony O’Reilly jnr, disclosed on Tuesday that Pageant had increased its stake in the company to 9.7 per cent.

The investment firm had moved in early August to hike its position from 7.45 per cent to 8.25 per cent, immediately after the stock plummeted as drilling at its Druid prospect – 1,000m above the Drombeg well that was the source of Monday’s market disappointment – had torn a “porous water-bearing reservoir”.

Out-of-favour stocks

Pageant Holdings, which seeks out value in out-of-favour stocks and sectors, is now Providence's second-largest shareholder, after London-based M&G Investment Management. Both had participated in a $70 million emergency fundraising in the company in July last year to raise funds to pay off debt and a legal bill, allow it to drill at Druid and Drombeg, and give it breathing space to find a partner for its Barryroe exploration site.


Barryroe, close to the exhausted Kinsale Head gas field off the Cork coast, was found in 2012 to have more than 300 million barrels of recoverable oil. A previous “farm-out” agreement for the project fell through in 2014 as the chosen partner, known to be Sequa Petroleum, failed to raise the necessary money to participate.

Mr O’Reilly said on Monday that Barryroe was the company’s next well in its offshore drilling programme.

Mr Furlong traces much of his wealth back to the sale of his Pilton video games and DVD distributor to DCC in 2005 for €42.5 million.

Joe Brennan

Joe Brennan

Joe Brennan is Markets Correspondent of The Irish Times