New Premier Oil boss poaches finance chief from rival Ophir

Suzie Neuwirth
PREMIER Oil, the FTSE 250-listed energy explorer, will today announce that it has hired Richard Rose from Ophir Energy to be its finance director, just three months after rejecting a takeover bid from the rival firm.

Premier’s chief executive Tony Durrant was promoted from finance director last month, leaving a vacancy. He replaced Simon Lockett who left amid shareholder fury at missed forecasts and production downgrades.

Rose, a former RBC analyst who is well-known in the City, became head of investor relations at Ophir last year. Before RBC, Rose was one of the founder shareholders of Oriel Securities.

Premier rejected a takeover approach from Ophir back in April, which would have created a £3bn combined oil and gas explorer.

Premier was thought to have snubbed the plan due to a lack of strategic fit between the two firms, partly due to geographic disparities. Premier has a large project in the Falklands, while Ophir is developing a field off Tanzania.

Earlier this month, Premier said it had sold its minority stakes in three UK North Sea fields to Hungarian oil and gas group MOL for $130m (£76.1m), as part of its $300m divestment programme.

Deutsche Bank analysts said at the time that while the sale price was at a discount to their estimates, the deal gave “confidence that despite a period of leadership change, delivery of key targets are on track”.

Premier’s shares closed 1.1 per cent lower at 323.60p on Friday.

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