Afren shares have been suspended

 
Jessica Morris
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Shares in embattled oil producer Afren were suspended this morning as uncertainty regarding its financial position left it unable to accurately update the market.

The Nigeria-focused company's shares were suspended at 7.30am by the Financial Conduct Authority at the request of the oil producer pending an announcement.

Afren later said that an ongoing business review had shown near-term production would be "materially lower" than the estimates released alongside the proposed restructuring on 13 March. It said that "there is significant uncertainty at this stage regarding the outcome of the review".

"As the review reaches a conclusion, the company will be further engaging with the ad hoc committee of bondholders regarding its request for an additional $30m (£19m) in net cash proceeds borrowed under the bridge securities, and with other stakeholders, as appropriate, to discuss the potential implications on the proposed restructuring, including its timeline."

"Given the material uncertainty of the results of the above-mentioned review, Afren is unable to assess accurately its financial position and inform the market accordingly at this stage, and therefore the Company has requested the suspension of trading in its shares. A further update will be provided to the market as soon as practicable."

Afren has struggled since chief executive Osman Shahenshah and chief operating officer Shahid Ullah were suspended and then fired over the receipt of unauthorised payments last year. It's also faced a tumultuous operating environment amid the global oil price rout - with prices falling as low as $45 per barrel in mid-January.

And there was more pain for shareholders when Afren first revealed it was suffering from a funding crisis in January, which caused shares to close down 71 per cent on the day.

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