Finance/Companies news briefs, Oct. 24

Lone Star Steel � CF&I Steel � Toreador Resources � Aker Maritime � Petrobank Energy and Resources � ExxonMobil � Northern Oil

Lone Star Steel Co., the operating subsidiary of Lone Star Technologies Inc. in Dallas, signed an exclusive multi-year agreement with CF&I Steel LP, doing business as Rocky Mountain Steel Mills, to market seamless steel tubular and related products from Rocky Mountain's mill in Pueblo, Colo. That alliance also provides additional opportunities for operating synergies related to Lone Star Steel's extensive finishing capabilities, officials said. Rocky Mountain manufactures seamless tubular products in the 5 1/2-in. to 10 3/4-in. range. Those oilfield tubulars will be sold into the growing Rocky Mountain, Canadian, Gulf of Mexico and Alaskan markets, said officials.

Toreador Resources Corp., Dallas, said its board of directors authorized repurchase of an additional 500,000 shares of the company�s common stock under a stock repurchase program first announced Apr. 21, 1997. Of the 300,000 shares initially authorized, 271,300 have been acquired in the open market or through privately negotiated transactions. The additional 500,000 shares, representing 10% of the company�s currently outstanding stock, are to be repurchased over an extended period, depending on market conditions.

Aker Maritime AS sold its two seismic ships for 900 million kroner to an undisclosed company and entered its first lease-back arrangement for the vessels. Unlike many other seismic companies, Aker Maritime has owned its ships until now. That sale will free up 750 million kroner in capital for Aker Maritime, said the company, which will mainly replace short-term financing for the purchase of 49% of the US-based Aker Gulf Marine. The ships were bought by a firm in which Aker RGI owns 5% of shares and Aker Maritime the remainder. However, officials said that company will not be consolidated in Aker Maritime, nor affect Aker Maritime�s balance sheet.

Petrobank Energy and Resources Ltd., Calgary, is selling for $85 million (Can.) its oil and natural gas interests in the Alder Flats and Cynthia areas, west and north of Red Deer in western Alberta, to an undisclosed independent oil and gas producer. The transaction was effective Aug. 1, subject to regulatory and Petrobank shareholder approval. Petrobank expects to complete the final documentation, mailing and shareholders meeting by early January 2001. The disposed properties currently total between 2,200 and 2,300 b/d of oil and gas production, or 85% of Petrobank's current total production. Petrobank will use proceeds from the sale to pay down debt and fund new projects.

ExxonMobil Corp.'s ExxonMobil Lubricants is integrating the Esso and Mobil lubricants operations in Europe after receiving necessary regulatory approvals. ExxonMobil plans to market and grow both the Esso and Mobil brands. Integration at the country level will begin shortly and should be completed by the end of the year, officials said.

Northern Oil ASA executed a private placement of 7.5 million shares at 7.50 kroner per share. The company said the shares are subscribed by a small number of institutional and private investors. Northern Oil will use the proceeds to finance its share of the Brazilian Coral and Estrela do Mar oil fields, to cover its investments in the Rubiales field in Colombia, and expand its investments in cash flow-generating reserves.

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