Premier shares dip as lender exit fears rise

Billy Bambrough
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Banks are becoming increasingly wary of the oil industry
Banks are becoming increasingly wary of the oil industry (Source: Getty)

Shares in struggling oil explorer Premier dipped yesterday amid fears lenders were backing out of the company's syndicated loans.

Despite attempts by Premier to calm the market, investors sent shares in the company 11 per cent lower by the London close.

Selling was sparked by media reports yesterday that said Lloyds Bank was selling out of Premier’s loans as the company races to finalise a complex refinancing deal ahead of a new year deadline.

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In September Premier said it expected to have the £2bn deal – involving up to 40 different teams of bankers and advisors – signed in the second half of 2016.

In a statement issued on the regulatory news service this afternoon Premier said it had “received assurances” that none of its senior lenders, including Lloyds Bank, have exited, or are proposing to exit, their loan position “at this time”.

The company added negotiations for its refinancing deal “continue to progress” towards a “near term agreement”. Premier previously told City A.M. it is on track to secure the deal before the end of 2016 though an industry source said negotiations haven’t moved forward as “quickly as it had been hoped”.

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Premier has been hit by a more than 50 per cent fall in oil prices over the past two years, with recent rebounds to around $45 per barrel still proving difficult for many North Sea oil firms.

Premier has had some 80 per cent of its market value wiped by the oil price slump, with lenders increasingly wary of the troubled sector.

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