Afren Plc receives takeover offer from Seplat Petroleum

Afren Plc, an Africa and Kurdistan-focused oil exploration and production company, today said that Seplat Petroleum Development Company Plc has approached it with a  takeover proposal.

''Afren plc notes the recent movement in Afren's share price and confirms that it has received a highly preliminary approach from SEPLAT Petroleum Development Company plc regarding a possible combination with Afren,'' the London-based company said in a statement.

''There can be no certainty that an offer will be made or as to the terms of any offer,'' the statement added.

Seplat has until 19 January to make a firm intention to make an offer.

The news sent Afren's share price surging by14 per cent.

London Stock Exchange-listed Afren has 28 assets in 12 countries, including producing assets in offshore Nigeria and in the Kurdistan region of Iraq.

It also holds exploration interests in Nigeria, Ghana, Côte d'Ivoire, the Kurdistan region of Iraq, Congo Brazzaville, Kenya, Ethiopia, Madagascar, Seychelles, Tanzania and South Africa.

Afren produced 31,377 barrels of oil equivalent for the nine months to 30 September 2014 and generated $798.5 million in revenues, a 34 per cent decrease due to temporary suspension of operations at its Ebok offshore field in Nigeria due to bad weather and the Ain Sifni onshore block in the Kurdistan region in Iraq due to security issues.

The company had a market cap of $870 million, and debt of around $1.1 billion as of 30 September 2014.

Seplat, which raised $500 million in an initial public offer in the London and Nigeria Stock Exchanges in April, currently produces around 60,000 barrels a day from its 2010 acquisition of three oil blocks in Nigeria from Royal Dutch Shell, Total and ENI.