Premier Oil shares suspended pending an announcement

Jessica Morris
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Shares in Premier Oil were halted for trade today, after the oil and gas explorer asked for a suspension pending the announcement of a potential acquisition.

Premier oil could be about to join a smattering of consolidation activity that's taken place in the wake of Royal Dutch Shell's mega-deal with smaller rival BG, spurred on by low oil prices which fell below $30 per barrel yesterday.

Ophir Energy said it's received informal merger and takeover interest from several parties, while Genel Energy is reportedly in early stage merger talks with a private company.

"At the request of the company, Premier's ordinary shares have been suspended from trading on the London Stock Exchange with effect from 7.30am this morning pending an announcement of a potential acquisition of assets by Premier which may be classified as a reverse takeover under the FCA Listing Rules," it said today.

"Therefore, the company has requested the temporary suspension of trading in its ordinary shares whilst clarification is sought from the UKLA. A further update will be provided shortly."

Premier Oil dropped out of the FTSE 250 last month, having been hit by plunging global oil prices. The company made cost reductions of over 25 per cent last year to weather the low oil price environment, and it expects to make more cuts this year.

It reported a loss after tax of $375.2m (£259.6m) for the first six months of the year, following steep impairment charges on its Solan project in the North Sea.

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