• Friday, May 24, 2024
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Afren rises after law firm finds no further evidence of payments

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Afren plc (AFR) shares rose as much as 7.1 percent after the UK oil and gas explorer says it sees no evidence of further improper payments.

Afren, which operates in Nigeria and Kurdistan, is undergoing an independent review by law firm Willkie Farr & Gallagher LLP after its CEO and three senior managers were suspended in July and August for allegedly receiving unauthorised payments.

“WFG has identified no evidence during the course of the expanded review of further unauthorized payments,” Afren said in the statement. “The Board remains of the view that the assets and operational position of the company have not been negatively affected.”

Shares rose as much as 7.3 pence to 110.8 pence in London, the most since August 15. The stock traded at 108.7 pence at 11:02am.

The London-based company added that the review — which was initially scheduled to finish last month – is “progressing well” and is expected to be complete by mid-October.

“The language and nature of the update suggests that the investigation has not uncovered any new substantial negatives,” Deutsche Bank, which rates the company at hold, said in a note. The “announcement will inevitably raise fresh questions on Afren’s vulnerability to a takeover.”