Ophir Energy plans $2bn London float or stake sale

AFRICA-focused oil company Ophir Energy, which is backed by Indian steel magnate Lakshmi Mittal, is preparing for a $2bn (£1bn) float in London.

The company, which has a portfolio of oil fields across Africa, plans to raise up to $500m by selling a quarter of its shares before the summer to fund the development of recent finds.

Ophir is understood to have lined up Credit Suisse and JPMorgan to lead the listing.

However, the group is also looking at selling a stake in one of its projects or attracting further private investment as an alternative to a listing.

The company, which was set up in 2004, is 70 per cent owned by four investors.

Mittal, the wealthiest man in Britain, owns 21 per cent after investing three years ago.

Ophir is the latest firm keen to cash in on soaring commodities prices. The price of oil hit $118 a barrel last week as political unrest continued in Libya and protests spread to other Middle Eastern oil producers.

Ophir was not available for comment.