Afren chairman Egbert Imomah: This year has been "far from what we planned"

 
Catherine Neilan
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Afren chairman Egbert Imomeh (c) and founder Bert Cooper talk to disgraced former chief executive Osman Shahensha (r) in 2010 (Source: Getty)
This is the bleakest AGM statement we've seen in a while.
Afren's chairman Egbert Imomah – whose departure was announced this morning – has detailed the series of problems that plagued the company last year, saying it had been “far from what we planned”.
Imomah noted that the oil group was still recovering from the discovery in July that former chief executive Osman Shaheshah and former chief operating officer Shahid Ullah had received payments “undisclosed and unknown to the board”, which set it on a downwards spiral.
After firing Shaheshah and Ullah, as well as two other directors, Afren's share price has plunged on poor figures. Then it was forced to cut estimates for its oil field in Kurdistan, before it emerged that it had a $200m (£132m) black hole and needed an urgent cash injection. Afren has struggled to shake off its financial woes and is now seeking shareholder support for a refinancing agreement.
Read more: Afren timeline
Imomah, who is stepping down as new chief executive Alan Linn takes the reins, detailed all these events at the opening of the AGM.
He said the directors' misconduct had “radically changed our company” in a way that could not have been anticipated, while results had been disappointing.
“However I believe the company can face the future with confidence given the quality of our assets, the good relationship with our partners, the injection of capital and the attraction of very competent people into the company,” he added.
Imomah, who is stepping down along with the rest of the board after today's AGM, said: “I want to thank our shareholders, bondholders, partners, staff and all other stakeholders for their patience and forbearance in what has been a very difficult period for the company.
“I would like to end by re-iterating the new board's commitment and determination to regain the confidence of all our stakeholders, and set Afren back on the course to value growth once more and where it truly belongs."
Afren's share price, which was up nearly 20 per cent in early trading, has slipped back during the mid-morning and was up two per cent at pixel time.

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