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PetroTal Corp- Interesting activist Institutional Investor engagement

It’s been a while since I commented on PetroTal Corp (PTAL) – a Peruvian based oiler. My views on this investment case turned negative back in late 2019, and I came in for some slagging on social media for even suggesting it was not the best investment since sliced bread. My last substantive comment was in June 2020, after the company placed to manage the working capital position, as I suggested was required. A cornerstone Institutional Investor is now engaging with PI’s and other II’s to see the best outcome for shareholders. I find this very interesting on several levels.


PetroTal Corp- Is it insolvent?

When I considered PetroTal (PTAL) previously I was particularly focused on the net current asset position at the year-end (31st December 2019). Due to Covid19, the publication of the results to confirm the position has been delayed until mid-June, but my conclusion was a negative position with a very significant balance due to trade contractors. The company fessed up in March, it had agreed to manage the payment position with its contractors – effectively stating it did not have the cash to settle due accounts and was looking for further funding. With the field now shut in the cash flow will have stopped. This is clearly not good.


PetroTal Corp- Is the truth now emerging – could it be a Zero?

I wrote positively about PetroTel Corp (PTAL) in June and could see real potential for a business of significance to be established. In November I saw the need to restate the cash position as a serious negative together with the lack of Board level oversight as a reason to sell. Last Tuesday the company provided some good detail on the likely operational cash flow at various oil prices. Despite this good guidance (many other oil company’s should note the disclosure detail of netbacks at various oil prices), I have not changed my view. This company needs more working capital.

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