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Afren gains another extension on debt payment

Afren

Debt-laden oil producer Afren Plc said it had been given another payment extension by some creditors, a day after the Sunday Times reported that China’s Fosun International Ltd was backing a takeover bid for the company.

Afren’s shares rose as much as 39 percent to 12 pence in early trading on the London Stock Exchange on Monday.

The company, whose main operations are in Nigeria, made no reference to Fosun in its statement but said it was having discussions with other stakeholders and new third-party investors regarding plans to recapitalise the company.

The Sunday Times said the Chinese conglomerate was backing a $500 million (325 million pound) bid led by Afren co-founder Bert Cooper.

An Afren spokesman declined to comment on the report, which also said that the China-Africa Development Fund had put up money for a deal.

Afren ended sales talks with Nigeria’s Seplat Petroleum Development Co Plc month.

Afren said lenders of a $300 million facility had agreed to defer a $50 million amortisation payment until March 31, having already extended the deadline in January by about a month to Feb. 27.

Afren’s gross debt stood at about $1.15 billion as of September.

The company also said it was still using a 30-day grace period for $15 million in interest that was due on Feb. 1 on its 2016 bond.