Premier Oil denies talk of takeover

Marion Dakers
BRITISH oil company Premier was yesterday forced to deny it had been approached by the Korea National Oil Company (KNOC) about a takeover offer after shares shot up.

The North Sea-focused explorer played down takeover rumours yesterday, with a spokesperson saying: “If any approach had been made, we would have had to make an announcement to the market.”

A Sunday newspaper had reported that KNOC had held preliminary discussions with the Premier.

Shares opened up 13 per cent to a one-year high when the markets opened, but pared the gains to close up 3.45 per cent at £18.60.

The South Korean government has given KNOC a $6.5bn (£4.2bn) war chest to expand globally. The company bought Dana Petroleum for £1.87bn in September, and reports at the weekend said it is in talks with a number of British oil explorers.

Premier is due to issue a trading update this morning.