KrisEnergy tumbles as Vietnam exploration disappoints; Singapore index inches up

SINGAPORE (Reuters) - Shares in upstream energy exploration firm KrisEnergy tumbled on Friday after the firm said exploration on a well in Vietnam yielded disappointing results, while the Singapore index edged higher.

KrisEnergy shares slid as much as 29 per cent to $0.84, the lowest since the company made its debut on the Singapore Exchange in July 2013. It was among the worst performers on the exchange.

The company said on Thursday that it had completed drilling and testing of the Cua Lo-1 well in Block 105, offshore Vietnam, and concluded that commercial development is unlikely, after another well in Vietnam yielded disappointing exploration results at the end of last year.

Bank of America Merrill Lynch analysts cut the target price on KrisEnergy by 13 per cent to $1.22.

"We believe KrisEnergy will regroup and reassess several other exploratory prospects that still can be drilled in both its large Vietnamese assets," the analysts said.

The analysts maintained their "neutral" rating on the stock, saying the new exploration strategy and subsequent drilling needs time, and that the news flow could be scarce in the next six months.

The benchmark Straits Times Index inched up 0.1 per cent to 3,147.90 points by midday, on course for a 0.5 per cent gain in the first full trading week of 2014. MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan was down 0.1 per cent.

In other stocks, offshore oilfield service provider Ezra Holdings dropped nearly 3 per cent after the firm reported a 22 per cent revenue gain and a 6 per cent decline in net profit.