Gulf Keystone Petroleum Ltd (GKP)


Updated: Gulf Keystone wins Excalibur case

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Gulf Keystone wins Excalibur case

Claims brought against Gulf Keystone Petroleum (GKP) by Excalibur Ventures were invalid, a judge ruled on Tuesday, bringing the three-year legal dispute to an end.

Judge Christopher Clarke from the English Commercial Court dismissed Excalibur's claims that it was entitled to 30% of Gulf Keystone's Shaikan oil field in Iraqi Kurdistan, having helped introduce the company to the opportunity.

Neither Gulf Keystone nor Texas Keystone Incorporated (a company founded by Gulf Keystone chief executive Todd Kozel, which holds a small interest in the Shaikan field) was found guilty of any fraud, and all issues were declared in favour of the defendants, which also included two Gulf Keystone subsidiaries.

"We are very pleased to have achieved the best possible outcome from the point of view of the company and our shareholders," commented Kozel.

"We understand that the legal process must take its course once a claim has been lodged, but it has been unfortunate that the company and its shareholders have experienced significant uncertainty and concern over the last two and a half years and that its executives have been engaged in a protracted and costly dispute to protect the position of the company and its shareholders."

Kozel added that Gulf Keystone was now focusing on production and development of the Shaikan field and on the company's proposed move to the standard segment of the London Stock Exchange's official list, which he said should be completed by the end of 2013.

Trading in Gulf Keystone shares was suspended on the morning of the judgement, but was expected to begin again at noon on Tuesday.

Analyst view

"Expect the share price to go mad as there should be decent upside, this has after all been hanging over it for a long time and whilst there will be a fair bit of profit taking from existing holders the underlying upside is substantial," commented VSA Capital analyst Malcolm Graham-Wood.

"Our target price of 480p stays and now with just the full listing to come I remain very bullish about the prospects for GKP."

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