Beach Energy Makes $31M in Annual Savings Through Merger with Drillsearch
Australia's Beach Energy Limited (Beach) provided Wednesday the following update in relation to its merger with Drillsearch Energy Limited (Drillsearch) (the Merger), including financial year (FY16) production and capital expenditure guidance.
The scheme of arrangement to merge Beach and Drillsearch was implemented March 1, resulting in Drillsearch becoming a wholly‐owned subsidiary of Beach. As announced March 24, the initial stages of integration identified recurring annual cost savings of approximately $21.7 million or AUD 28 million (pre‐tax). Due to a further reduction in headcount resulting from the Merger, accelerated closure of the Sydney office, and associated savings in corporate administration costs, additional synergies have been confirmed.
The current assessment of recurring annual cost savings from the Merger is $31 million or AUD 40 million (pre‐tax), which will be fully realized in FY17. These synergies include redundancy of the majority of Sydney-based employment positions, cessation of Drillsearch Board fees, termination of contractors and consultants, elimination of Sydney office administration costs, and redemption of convertible notes. Not included are field and travel related savings expected from cessation of ex PEL 91, 106 and 107 joint venture management, and rent savings from closure of the Sydney office. The Sydney office will close by April 30 and negotiations are underway to surrender or sub‐lease existing arrangements.
Summarized below is the current assessment of Merger synergies, which will be fully realized in FY17.
Estimated Merger Synergies1 in AUD million
- Headcount reduction2 - 26
- Contractors and consultants - 4
- Office administration costs - 3
- Financing costs3 - 7
- Total (annual, pre-tax) - 40
1 Pre‐allocation of expenses to joint ventures; excludes one‐off integration costs
2 Includes Board members and executives
3 Redemption of $125 million Drillsearch convertible notes: 6.0 percent coupon rate; 2.0 percent deposit interest foregone; $:AUD exchange rate of 0.74 assumed
Headcount and Organization Review
The Merger resulted in duplication of operational and corporate employment positions. Integration has focused on eliminating such duplication, with Sydney‐based headcount to be reduced by 60 by April 30, and a further 4 positions expected to be made redundant by May 31.
In conjunction with Merger integration, a review of Beach’s organization structure was completed by a global consulting firm. The review concluded that Beach has been operating with a lean structure and top‐quartile staffing metrics. However, changes were recommended to assist with the current environment of lower oil prices and the integration of Drillsearch. These recommendations have subsequently been implemented and resulted in a further reduction in headcount.
It is now expected that headcount will reduce to 213 by June 30. On a combined basis, this represents a 29 percent reduction since June 30, 2015, and a 21 percent reduction directly attributable to the Merger. Expected headcount by June 30 is summarized below.
- Combined Headcount as at June 30, 2015
- Beach - 236
- Drillsearch - 65
- Total - 301
- 1H FY16 reduction - (19)
- Merger related redundancies - (64)
- Organization review2 - (5)
- Expected Headcount by June 30, 2016
- Reduction since June 30, 2015 - 29 percent
- Reduction attributable to Merger - 21 percent
1 Includes executives; excludes Board members, contractors and international employees
2 Net of additions in Corporate Development and Gas teams
In relation to Merger integration, Acting Chief Executive Officer, Neil Gibbins, said “Integration of Beach and Drillsearch continues to track ahead of schedule, with Merger synergies exceeding original expectations. The results achieved to date make the combined business a leaner, more robust operation. The Merger has strengthened our ability to weather current market volatility and better positions us to take advantage of a future improvement in conditions.
In addition to pleasing integration outcomes, our operations team continues to achieve outstanding results. As will be outlined in our upcoming quarterly report, we continue to maintain oil production levels from our ex PEL 91 permit, and have implemented cost initiatives which are expected to deliver further savings of up to $5.4 million (AUD 7 million) pre‐tax annually.”
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