(Alliance News) - Ithaca Energy PLC on Tuesday announced changes to its leadership team in preparation for the purchase of the UK upstream assets from Italian oil major Eni Spa.

Ithaca also reported first-quarter results, revealing a drop in net income but saying this was as expected. The company reaffirmed its 2024 guidance.

London-based Ithaca is a UK-focused oil exploration and development company. Shares were up 0.7% at 114.60 pence on Tuesday morning in London. Ithaca has a market capitalisation of GBP1.16 billion.

Back in April, Ithaca announced an agreement to buy the UK upstream oil and gas assets of Eni. The deal will see Rome-based Eni take a 38.5% stake in Ithaca. The deal will create a UK continental shelf "powerhouse" producing 100,000 to 110,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day, Ithaca said. It expects to be the largest producer in that area of the North Sea by 2030.

In preparation, Ithaca said Gilad Myerson will step down as executive chair, with Non-Executive Director Dave Blackwood to be interim non-executive chair. Myerson's permanent replacement will be Yaniv Friedman, the former chief executive officer of Tel Aviv-listed Modiin Energy LP and deputy CEO of Newmed Energy LP.

The company also named Luciano Vasques as CEO. Vasques currently is managing director of Eni UK Ltd, and will start with Ithaca once the purchase of Eni UK has completed.

Iain Lewis will return to his position as chief financial officer from interim CEO after the Eni deal is complete. Ithaca also named Odin Estensen as chief operating officer, joining from Neptune Energy Ltd, where he was managing director of Neptune's Norwegian and UK businesses. Prior to Neptune, Estensen worked for Shell PLC.

For the three months ended March 31, Ithaca posted earnings before interest, tax, depreciation, amortisation and exploration expense of USD339.0 million, down from USD518.1 million a year prior. Net income fell to USD42.7 million from USD158.1 million.

More positively, adjusted net debt was reduced to USD461.1 million from USD899.6 million.

Total production in the first quarter was 58,699 barrels of oil equivalent per day, down from 75,257 a year before. Guidance for 2024 combined production remained unchanged at 80,000 to 87,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day.

Ithaca also reaffirmed all pro-forma financial guidance for 2024.

By Tom Waite, Alliance News editor

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