ERHC, which is expected to win not only its valuable treaty-protected preferential rights but also at least one block operatorship when awards are announced sometime between today and Friday, opened with strong sales at yesterday's close and volume of more than 300,000 shares in the first half hour.
Eearly, one block of 100,000 shares was sold at the $0.52 bid, which had moved up from yesterday's closing bid of $0.515. At 11:01am EST, 11:02am and 11:03am EST blocks of 60,000, 50,000 and 200,000 traded, the first two at $0.52 and the larger one at $0.53, and the ask dropped back to $0.52. Volume at 11:20 was 1,045.865.
Among the oddments making their way across message boards this morning was this one, reminding investors of the stock's performance over the past three years:
Sometimes it helps to take a wide-angle view of what we're doing here.
ERHC was up 141% in calendar 2003. S&P 27%.
ERHC was up 65% in calendar 2004. S&P 8%.
ERHC is up 10% YTD 2005. S&P down 2% YTD 2005
We forgot to get the nickname of the person who posted that on the Raging Bull ERHC board.
Also from the same board came a snippet from one of the many stories that moved yesterday about the signing of the Production Sharing Contract for JDZ Block 1 by ChevronTexaco (51 percent), ExxonMobil (40 percent) and Norway's Dangote Energy Equity Resources (9 percent). The brief excerpt reminded investors that whether the stock gains $0.50 or $2.00 on the award news, the important money lies ahead and both nations intend to get us there:
"Sao Tome and Nigeria have set a maximum six-month time limit for the companies to start working in the bloc (and start) oil production proper by 2008," said Carlos Gomes of Sao Tome, chairman of the joint authority managing the jointly controlled zone, speaking at the signing ceremony.
And also serving to remind investors what an association with ERHC can mean to an institution lucky enough to be "in" on the ground floor - $0.41 in this case - came this note from a the Nigerian Daily Champion about First Atlantic Bank.
The newspaper apparently had no clue as to the true reason for its sudden huge volume and vastly increased capitalization: it won 60 million shares from ERHC's chairman, Sir Emeka Offor, in a lawsuit that concluded on Nov. 10, 2004, in Houston Federal Court.
The shares were from Offor's own holdings, not newly issued, and cannot be sold for a year, but each time ERHC has risen by a cent the bank has seen its assets rise $600,000. At this morning's opening price, that $7.2 million, and with awards, it may be $60 million more.
As we said, the newspaper didn't have a clue, so as it reported on a pig in a poke, it simply said:
First Atlantic Emerges As Most Active Stock
February 1, 2005
by Okey Nwankwo
LAGOS -- First Atlantic Bank Plc emerged as the most active Stock (turnover by volume) on the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) for the month of December, 2004.
According to the NSE monthly review, the bank led others with a turnover of 743.7 million shares representing 32.45 per cent of the turnover for the month.
First Atlantic Bank recorded a 87.36 per cent increase in its share price, TIB 75 percent, FCMB 50.14 percent, Lion Bank 43.94 percent and Manny Bank 36.56 percent.