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30 Apr 2020 | 11:57

Infrastrata says Islandmagee funding talks have stalled

(Sharecast News) - Infrastrata shares fell after the energy company said the Covid-19 crisis had stalled funding talks for its Islandmagee gas storage project in Northern Ireland. The company was seeking government grants and loans for the flagship project, which could provide 25% of the UK's natural gas storage capacity.

Announcing first-half results the company said the Covid-19 emergency had slowed talks with the government and equity investors about the project off the coast of County Antrim.

"Whilst the fundamentals of the project have not altered, the company believes that resumption of meaningful discussions with both the government and project equity partners will happen only once the lockdown has been lifted," Infrastrata said. "Funding partners have indicated that future cash investments are likely to be forthcoming only towards the end of the year."

Infrastrata shares fell more than 10% after the announcement and were down 8.3% to 28p at 11:42 BST.

Infrastrata posted a pretax loss of £2.9bn for the six months to the end of January, an increase from a loss of £394,627 a year earlier. The company reported its first income of £515,230 from its acquisition of Harland & Wolff but management and administrative costs more than quadrupled to £2.8m from £652,627.

There was some good news for Infrastrata, which bought Belfast's Harland & Wolff shipyard out of administration in October to serve the Islandmagee project. Harland & Woolf built the Titanic and HMS Belfast, the Royal Navy ship that is now a museum on the Thames.

An independent valuation judged that Harland & Wolff was worth £11.32m - more than double the £5.25m Infrastrata paid. Infrastrata said because of the Covid-19 crisis it was in talks with for an extension to the deadline for its last payment of £1.45m due on 30 April.

"Positive discussions are continuing with the administrators to determine an optimum timeframe for the company to complete this final tranche of payment," it said.
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