North Sea energy producer Serica plans first dividend in April

LONDON (Reuters) - Serica Energy SQZ.L plans to launch its first dividend programme in April after reducing its debt to zero, the North Sea-focused oil and gas producer said in a trading update on Tuesday.

London-listed Serica said production from its Bruce, Keith, Rhum (BKR) and Erskine fields reached 30,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day in 2019, up 13% from a year earlier and at the upper end of forecasts.

The company consolidated its stake in the BKR fields after a string of acquisitions in recent years from BP BP.L, Total TOTF.PA and BHP BHP.AX.

By the end of 2019 Serica held 101.8 million pounds ($132 million) in cash. It had no borrowing after paying in full a 16.5 million pound gas prepayment facility to BP.

The company said it expects to announce its first dividend with its 2019 annual results in April.

Reporting by Ron Bousso; editing by Jason Neely